Most Important Things To Know about Nutrition for Runners
The new year is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: resolution time!
We will make promises to ourselves and try our best to keep up with them, at least for the first few months.
But the thing that most people seem to forget is that the key to staying on track with your resolutions is to do a lot of research and prepare in advance.
If you’ve promised yourself you won’t be eating out as much anymore, you better get some cookbooks and pans, because otherwise you’re setting yourself up to fail.
And if you’ve promised yourself you’re gonna start running, here’s what you need to know about eating right:
Timing is everything
Running is something that you seldom do spontaneously.
It’s usually a scheduled activity that you perform routinely right before breakfast or in the evening when you get home from work.
And just like the run is planned, the food should be as well. You never want to start running with a full stomach, so you have to give yourself enough time not only to eat but to digest the food as well.
Running on a full stomach will slow you down, make you feel sick and most importantly the energy from the food won’t be going towards your running, but rather your stomach will be siphoning energy to use for digestion.
Similarly, you’ve probably heard of the importance of an after workout snack, but taking it too soon could make you feel nauseous.
Wait for about 20 minutes after you’ve stopped running to take a bite.
What you should eat
Like in all things in life, you need to have balance. A good, balanced diet is healthy for everyone, but what is specific to runners?
Calcium is crucial for strong bones, omega-3 for decreased muscle pain and increased tissue repair and magnesium for your stamina.
You are going to need a lot of carbs (the slow-burning kind) to get you through your run, but you should never cut out other foods from your diet.
If you’re not sure how to get the important vitamins in, get organic food online in bulk, like chia seeds and dates, and add them into your meals, smoothies and snacks for a good boost. Before a run, you want to eat something that is dense with calories, like an energy bar, a banana or a similar dense food that is rich in carbs.
After you’ve ran, you want to get some protein in. Think nuts, dairy, dark greens or lean meats. This will help regenerate your muscles and get you ready for the next run.
Could you run on an empty stomach? Yes. Should you run on an empty stomach? Probably not. Could you run dehydrated?
Absolutely not. When you are running, your body is using up a lot of energy and heating up, making you sweat and lose water.
On top of that, you might be breathing through your mouth, running in the sun and drying out your body with every step.
People have lost Olympic medals because they skipped taking water during the run, so don’t make that mistake.
Drink before, during and after the run, either plain old water or one enriched with electrolytes.
Make sure you are taking small sips, because large gulps will make you feel nauseous and water splashing around in your stomach while you run is not something you want to feel.
Knowing how you should take care of your body when you are running is practically half of the work.
You might be able to run for a little while without paying attention to your nutrition, but it certainly won’t be sustainable, and we all know that running is a long-term commitment.