Regardless of whether you’ve been seriously running for decades or days, there are a few key nutritional tips that every runner should keep in mind. The amount of time that you put into training is extremely important; however, too often athletes don’t properly fuel their bodies to get the most out of their workouts.
For example, we all know the human body naturally burns calories, but for each mile that a person runs they actually burn an average of 100 additional calories for each mile ran. Not only that, but runners should also keep in mind that their body will be in need of additional protein to keep all of their muscles functioning at peak performance. With all of this taken into consideration, here are a few quick tips to make sure you properly fuel your body to get the most of out your runs.
1. Eat the Right Kind of Carbohydrates
Carbs are a key to any runner’s diet as they will be one of your main sources of energy. Many runners think that any kinds of carbs will do, when really runners need to be focusing on consuming complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates will provide you with a steady source of energy and most importantly will not cause any sharp blood sugar spikes which would leave you feeling worn-out at the end of a run. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are great examples of complex carbs to consider.
2. Proper Protein Intake
Proteins are essential to building and repairing muscles. A good general rule of thumb is that after a long run you will need to consume 1.5 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds that you weigh. There are various types of protein out there but if you’re looking to lose weight, it is important to focus on high quality lean protein. Skinless chicken breasts, shellfish, egg whites, shrimp and cottage cheese are great examples of lean proteins to try.
3. Eat Balanced Meals
While consuming the right kind of carbs and lean high quality proteins are crucial to properly fueling your body, it is just as important to properly balance this intake. For most runners it is ideal to have 60%-65% of your caloric intake be complex carbohydrates, have protein make up about 15%-20% of your daily intake and make sure no more than 20%-25% of your daily consumption is fat. Make sure to fit in plenty of fruits and vegetables!
Many runners look at vitamins and similar products as the main way to improve their nutritional intake, when in reality eating the correct amounts of certain healthy foods can actually make all the difference on your next run. Whether you are training to run marathons or just trying to bring your mile time down, these three tips are simple ways to make sure you are properly energizing your body for the task at hand.