When pounding the pavement, you want to eat foods that are going to enable you to cross the finish line, not hold you back! We want to be agile and quick like a lioness. Not slow, and sluggish like a sloth. That is why it’s important to consume the ‘right’ foods at the ‘right’ time to maintain high energy levels and enhance performance.
THE RIGHT FOODS FOR FUEL:
Carbs are not the enemy. In fact, as a runner, Carbs are your friend! Stored carbohydrates, or glycogen, are stored in skeletal muscle and the liver for use during workouts, plus they act like fuel to the body
WHAT: Think wholegrain cereals, breads, fruit and vegetables.
WHEN? For larger meals (2-3hrs) and smaller meals/snacks (1-2hrs) hour’s pre run, this allows for the food to digest properly. This way you will use it as fuel, burning through you fat cells and not your muscle! Now THAT is what we want!
Winner, winner chicken dinner! Protein helps rebuild muscle that has been broken down or damaged during exercise.
WHAT: Top protein options are low or non-fat dairy products, lean meats and legumes, such as beans and lentils.
WHEN? Ideally, protein is best to consume at every meal, however after a run is extremely important. Why? Protein assists in muscle repair and stops your body from breaking down muscle for energy. Try and stick to the 4:1 of carbs to protein 30 – 45 minutes post work-out.
Hydration is key when embarking on a long distance run. We need to be hydrated in order for our body to function properly and be at our peak performance.
WHAT: Water is the obvious candidate, however sports drinks are a good option to get electrolytes and replace the liquid lost through sweat. Coconut water is has become a strong contender amongst sporting drinks, due to its high level of potassium and ‘natural’ way to hydrate.
WHEN? Always, Always, Always….
No… Not the doughnut kind. ‘Good’ fats! Good fats are essential in a healthy diet, and are especially good for runners. Why? They promote healthy heart function and omega-3 fatty acids help to keep your body hydrated!
WHAT: Stick to good fats which are easy to digest. Some top sources are: flax oil, salmon and olive oil, natural peanut butter and yoghurt.
WHEN: A small amount of good fat works for both pre and post run.