Eating well is vital to getting the most out of yourself as a runner but nutrition can be a complex topic with many conflicting opinions. Here are five helpful tips from avid runner and registered dietitian Mike Chadwick that will help you to get the most out of your own nutrition.
No One Day Is The Same
Fuel each day differently according to your training schedule. Don’t develop the habit of eating the same every day, regardless of the training you have planned. Eating more food on long and demanding training days, when it is most needed, and less on recovery days will help to maximise the effects of those big training sessions.
Prep Like A Boss
Be organised and prepared. A little preparation goes a long way to helping ensure that each meal and snack is nourishing your body, aiding recovery and helping to prepare for future runs. Have a plan of what you are going to eat and prepare the food in advance, especially on work days. This will help to avoid overreliance on low quality convenience foods when hunger comes knocking.
During demanding runs lasting over 60 minutes, take onboard some energy in the form of carbohydrate. Sports nutrition products such as energy bars, gels, and drinks are convenient and easy to consume. Alternatively, a small handful of jelly babies or dried fruit, or a ripe banana will also provide easily digestible carbohydrate to keep energy levels topped up and help get the most out of your run.
Practice Makes Perfect
When training for long distance it is vital to practise your in-race nutrition strategy. This will help to refine your plan and minimise the chances of stomach upset. Nutrition is crucial to performance over the longer distances. Consuming 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour will help to maintain performance.
Protein Is Not Just For Pros
Gone are the days when protein was considered unimportant for endurance athletes. For the body to fully recover and adapt in response to the stress caused by training, it must be provided with the raw materials; amino acids from protein. Eating protein every 3-4 hours will ensure a continual supply of amino acids to enhance the recovery and adaptation process.
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About the author: Mike Chadwick is a dietician at Blizard Physiotherapy and Sports Performance Clinic