As a runner, it vital that you are aware of what your body needs, not just in terms of fitness training, but also in nutrition and hydration.
Whether you have signed up for a major marathon or are taking part in your local fun run, it is important that you prepare nutritionally. Nutrition needs to be part of your on-going training and not something you only take note of leading up to a big run or race.
You may not realise it, but training on a regular basis and improving your fitness level is not enough to make you a good runner. It is crucial that you also prepare your body with proper nutrition. You need to know what you should be eating, when you should be eating it, and how much of you need to eat – that is where we come in.
For our simple guide to nutrition for runners, have a read of this.
1. Eat within two hours of finishing
It is important that you eat within two hours of finishing a run or practice session. This is the time when your muscles are best able to replenish their carbohydrates stores.
When you run, you burn some of the glycogen in your muscles (carbohydrates stores). Once you have finished your run, it is vital that you replenish these stores. The best way to do this is by eating protein and carbohydrates within two hours of finishing your training session.
2. Eat lots of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, like pasta, rice and potato are our bodies preferred choice of fuel – they are easier to turn into energy than other foods.
Our bodies have smaller stores of carbohydrates than they do of protein and fat, so it is important to keep them topped up. To keep your carbohydrates store topped up, make sure to eat a portion of pasta, rice or potato with every meal.
3. Keep a food / training diary
Keeping a food / training diary is an excellent idea, as it will allow you to workout what foods and training times work best for you. While there are plenty of food diet guides available for runners, each body is different and requires different care.
If you are unsure what your body needs to perform properly, it might be a good idea to seek professional advice. You can either get in touch with a dietician or the Denver diet counselling service.
4. Avoid alcohol
It is a good idea to avoid alcohol as much as possible. Not only will a night on the town leave you feeling delicate and unable to train, but it will also result in dehydration and low blood sugar levels. Making your training a lot harder to stomach.
On a night out, alternate alcoholic drinks with glasses of water. This will help your body to cope with the alcohol more easily, and shouldn’t leave you feeling too rough the next morning.
5. Replenish your carbohydrate levels on long runs
If, after running a few miles, you begin to feel exhausted, it is because your carbohydrates store is completely depleted.
Instead of leaving it until you feel exhausted and unable to run a step more, make sure to take sports drinks and energy gels throughout your run. That way you will be able to maintain your carbohydrate store.
There are less than 8 weeks to the Virgin Money London marathon now – I’m getting nervous!