It isn't all about Carbs. 5 Essential Changes to Your Diet for Running Success
Training for a race, whether that's a 10k half or marathon is tough. Your training plan is designed build body strength, running speed and endurance over the months of training. No longer is 'just going out for a run' enough, you need to train to get your body to adapt and be prepared for the race ahead.
To be able to train to max and give yourself the best chance of getting to the start line you need to make sure your diet, the food you feed your body, is the best it can be.
And it isn't all about Carbs!
Here are my 5 Essential Changes to Your Diet for Running Success
1. Get Your 5 A Day
As part of a balanced healthy diet, everyone should be eating at least 5 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day. As a runner your body will be craving nutrients, so you'll need to be eating more!
Fruit and vegetables contain vital vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrate, 'good fats', proteins and fibre and should make a core contribution to your diet. If you’re not getting your 5 a day, you need to start to do so now!
Nuts and seeds are great for vitamins and minerals too. Sprinkle on your breakfast cereal or on salads for extra crunch. Start out with what you like and try out new fruit and veg if your repertoire is limited. If you can't stand sprouts try broccoli, replace your regular mash with sweet potato, try bananas and berries with your breakfast.
2. Eat Starchy Carbs
When you’re running your body uses carbohydrate as fuel. So it’s really important that you eat plenty of starchy carbohydrates, such as root vegetables and whole grains in your diet. You should be aim for about 55% of your total calories to come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates in themselves won’t make you fat, but eating too many will, so cut down on highly processed nutrient sparse sugary treats!
3. Eat Quality Protein
Every time you run you put your muscles under stress from exercise small tears are made to muscle fibres. So it’s important when you’re training for a race to eat plenty of good quality lower fat protein so your muscles can repair and recover from runs. As a runner you’re going to need slightly more quality protein than a sedentary person. However, a western diet is generally protein rich, so you don’t need to go overboard with eating more meat.
4. Ensure Your Diet is Iron Rich
The pounding action of running has the effect of destroying red blood cells so valuable iron is lost from the body. Runners, and especially female runners, need to be mindful of this and eat plenty of iron rich foods.
If you eat meat make sure you include eat lean red meat in your diet, and if you’re a vegetarian include lots of nuts, legumes, seeds and green leafy vegetables.
Iron is used in the body to make haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body, so it’s vitally important, as a marathon runner, you include iron in your diet. A diet lacking in iron can lead to anaemia, which will make you feel tired and lethargic and will compromise your training.
5. Drink More Water
So many people go through the day dehydrated. Through the training period you need to get used to drinking more fluids. Running will increase your sweat rate, even in cold weather, so make sure that you are well hydrated at all times. Get into the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you, and taking small sips throughout the day.
If you're running a spring 10k, half or marathon tuning up your diet now, to set yourself up for race day success.
If you've a marathon in your sights why don't you come and join Marathon Club Hub to help with your training and preparation for your race. Marathon Club Hub will help you ramp up your running for your marathon, focusing on the right foods for fitness, strength and conditioning to fitness your form, as well as keeping you engaged and motivated along the way.