If you run regularly, whether it’s an easy run around the block to stay fit or an intense training regimen to prepare for a marathon, you need proper nutrition.
Shelby Idle, a clinical dietitian at Johns Hopkins Medicine, is passionate about running and distance training. She shares some tips to help keep runners well-fed and ready to win.
Food for runners and joggers
A good diet can enhance your physical health and help you achieve your fitness goals. Make sure your meals focus on the following essential ingredients:
- Fruits and vegetables For vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- lean protein Such as fish, poultry, beans, lentils and tofu
- healthy fats Such as olive oil, avocado and nuts
- healthy carbohydrates Such as rice, wholegrain bread/pasta and oatmeal
Edel stresses that individuals may have different optimal balances, but in general, she says that people who run or jog as part of their fitness regimen should get 60% to 70% of their calories from carbohydrates, with lean protein and healthy fats. for each account. 15% to 20% of the remaining calories.
Don’t skimp on carbohydrates
Although low-carb diets are popular for people wanting to lose weight, they aren’t ideal for long-distance runners who feast on carbohydrates for endurance.
“Low-carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, plus running is not a good idea,” says Edel. “I wouldn’t recommend the keto diet to anyone unless their doctor tells them that this is a medically safe option for them and that they are monitored while they are in ketosis.
“Distance runners need more carbs than people who don’t train. Eating carbs can be hard on your body and affect your recovery after a run.”
Here’s why: Running uses up both your blood glucose and its stores glycogen. glucose It is the form of sugar that circulates in the bloodstream, and glycogen, Edel explains, is the sugar stored in the liver and muscles that serves as the primary fuel for endurance exercise.
Eating plenty of carbohydrates helps ensure that these energy stores are ready to support your training. When these stores drop too low, runners are more likely to run out of energy and “run out” or “hit a wall” during training.
Running regimen – vitamins and minerals
Running changes your body and your nutritional needs. “Often when people start a running regime, they are trying to lose weight or get back in shape quickly, and they don’t realize they need to adjust their diet,” Edel says.
“Especially in runners, we see a tendency to over-run with not enough food,” she says, “and this can have an impact on health if they do not adequately replace the missing vitamins and minerals in their diet.”
“For women in particular, calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health to avoid loss of bone mineral density and the risk of stress fractures.”
for More Vitamin DInclude these foods in your meals:
- Dairy products fortified with vitamin D, almonds, soy or rice-based drinks
- Vitamin D fortified cereal
for More calciumattempt:
- Yogurt and cheese
- canned fish with bones (such as sardines)
Iron deficiency can affect women and even affect their running performance. Edel explains that “the menstrual cycle increases the risk of iron deficiency, and if the iron in the diet is not replenished, you can notice a decrease in hemoglobin and the development of anemia.” “Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen throughout the body, including the muscles, so if there is a deficiency, the muscles may feel the effect of the lack of oxygen during exercise.”
Iron-rich foods Include:
- Poultry and other meat
- Legumes, such as peas and beans
- Dark green leafy vegetables such as turnip
- Dried fruits and raisins
- Iron-fortified bread and cereal
Eidel offers this advice: “Eat iron-rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, peppers or berries. Vitamin C helps increase the body’s absorption of iron.”
The truth behind ‘high runners’ and the other mental benefits of running
You may have experienced that feeling of relaxation after a good run. This experience is often referred to as a “runner’s euphoria,” and is usually attributed to the rush of endorphins released during exercise. But is this really an endorphin rush that you feel or something else?
David Linden, Ph.D.professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, breaks down the phenomenon of high runners and other effects on the brain.
What to eat before running – and when
Edel says the best time to eat a full meal is about two to three hours before you hit the road, track or trail. “Eat a good source of carbs paired with protein, and make sure the meal focuses on a healthy source of carbs,” she suggests.
“If it’s been more than three to four hours since you’ve eaten, eating a carbohydrate-rich snack half an hour before your run can ensure you’re getting enough glucose before you head out,” says Edel. “Immediately before running, it is best to stick to easily digestible carbohydrates to avoid [GI] distress such as cramping or diarrhea.”
- Apple juice
- Crackers, pretzels or cereal
- White bread
Glucose Boosters for Long Distance Runners
If you are training for a marathon or remote event and are going out for more than an hour, you will need to bring some fuel with you. Energy drinks, jelly tubes, and other sources of quick blood glucose boosters are available, but you can also use something as simple as fruit snacks.
Edel advises practicing these as you train so that you can choose the formulas that are best for you, and you can work on getting to them and eating them smoothly without breaking your stride.
What foods should runners avoid?
Before your run or the night before the big race, Edel recommends doing the following:
- Spicy foods or foods rich in excessively fat, which can cause digestive upset
- Foods that are high in fiber, which can cause gas and cramping
- Caffeine – Although it’s tempting to overdose on caffeine right before a run, runners should remember that for some people, caffeine can stimulate the digestive system, which can lead to diarrhea or the need for an emergency bathroom break, says Edel.
Does Carbohydrate Loading Work?
It may be. Carb loading is the practice of eating plenty of carbohydrates—particularly those that are easy to absorb, such as white bread, pasta, and rice—24 to 48 hours before a big race or long-distance run, to support the body’s stores of glycogen and rice. Reduce the risk of burnout before the event ends.
“Some studies show that carb loading is good for people who are preparing for a race, but it’s important to make sure during that time that you allow your body to rest and give it time to stock up on what you’re eating,” says Edel. “The number of grams of carbohydrate will vary from person to person, but in general, the evidence suggests that carbohydrate loading can be beneficial before a distance event.”
She adds that casual runners likely don’t need to load up on carbs. Ensuring that their daily diets contain additional carbohydrates can be sufficient.
What do we eat after running?
It’s common for people not to feel hungry after a run, but Edel recommends a snack or snack of complex carbohydrates and protein within the first hour after a run to help replenish glycogen stores and support recovery and rebuilding of stressed muscles. For example:
- Peanut Butter and Banana
- Eggs on toast
- Delicious meat sandwich
- Pasta with meat or vegetable protein
- Veggie burger on a bun
- Protein shake or smoothie
Running to lose weight
“If you are interested in running as part of a weight loss plan, getting adequate nutrition is a must,” says Edel. “Even running or jogging casually burns calories and can be hard on the body. Runners can be undernourished at first because they don’t understand how much energy they burn when running and what they need to recover properly.”
She adds that eating enough is also essential for building muscle, which can help burn fat — an added benefit for people working to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
“For optimal weight loss, you want a plan that isn’t based on running alone, but also includes strength training and proper nutrition,” says Edel. “Working with a dietitian can be beneficial.”
listen to your body
Edel says that if you run regularly, you should pay attention to the effects of what you eat and when you eat it, especially on your running performance. Learning what works best for you can take some time and a bit of trial and error, but it’s worth it, since running, jogging, and other regular aerobic exercises offer many health benefits.
“Always feel free to consult a dietitian or doctor, and listen to your body if you’re not keeping up with your training goals,” she says.
A smart cardio approach to marathons and strength training
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