Nutrition for Distance Runners
Running sessions will vary from longer runs designed to develop aerobic endurance, on the other hand, intense runs and interval work designed to improve anaerobic system and speed. Your training nutrition will need to take all this into account and be flexible enough to be adapted to any level.
When training for a marathon can require a combination of 5km training and 10km training into the schedule, however you still require to maintain the nutritional side to your training.
An Underfed runner does not produce his or her best performance, be sensible on you weight loss. If you have a certain amount of body fat that you wish to lose, lose it early in season, well ahead of your important race dates. If it is a little amount of body fat to lose, eat a balanced diet and let the body let quality training lose it for you.
Pre-Exercise Hydration & Fueling
Fueling for Training
Be aware of your timing of when you eat before training, running tends to jostle your gastrointestinal system, GI disturbance is a more common problem in running then in other endurance sports. Feeling “light” for training avoiding a sloshing stomach, bloating, cramping and diarrhea.
Prior to a short, relative easy run, what you eat before will be a matter of comfort and fending off hunger or hypoglycemia. If you train early morning, perhaps consider having some fruit juice and a piece of plain toast. Regardless of your tolerances, make sure you drink water or even a sports drink to hydrate. On long morning runs consider taking a bottle or fuel belt with you. Taking on a sports drink will maintain blood glucose levels in the latter part of the run, anything under 60min run it would not be necessary to carry a drink (depends on the temperature)
Consuming regular meals and snacks replenishes liver glycogen stores and also helps maintain steady blood glucose levels throughout the day and during training.
You are ideally looking to consume your carbohydrates either the night before or no less than 2 hrs before your training long runs. Ideally take in as much carbs as you can tolerate upto 1gram /pound (2g/kg) of body weight. If you do eat closer to running lower your carb rate to ½ gram/pound (1gram/kg). your choices of food should be kept simple.
Some simple morning meals for example:-
• ½ bagel with 1tsp (8ml) peanut butter + 1tbsp (20ml) jam + 8oz (240ml) juice
• ½ cup instant oatmeal with 4oz soy milk + 1tbsp (20ml) raisins
• 1 medium sized high carb energy bar + 1banana
• Pretzels and hummus with a glass of Orange Juice (OJ)
• Crackers with nut spread + banana
• Smoothie with milk, yoghurt and fruit
• Tortilla with peanut butter and raisins
• Chocolate milk and grapes
• Toasted waffle with syrup and fruit
Coffee, tea or a glass of water can be included with all of these suggestions. Feel free to experiment with pre run food and drinks, also try either taking water or sports drink to consume on the run, to determine which provides the best energy boost within your tolerances.
Hydration and Fluids
Being hydrated through the day even when not training is an advantage to you, but with in an hour of exercise increase the amount of fluid. Try to consume 8-12 ounces every hour when not training. Light colored urine indicates that you are well hydrated. Once again experiment within your training to find out how much more or less you need to drink. Bear in mind that the likes of tea and coffee are dyaretics with the cafein levels so try to lower the amount of consumption of these drinks, as well as being a hot temperature they tend to pass through the body quicker.
Hard training runs, and particular 2 runs a day session, require great attention to recovery nutrition. Muscle fibers can be damaged by running, which can delay glycogen recovery. Carb intake immediately after training will start the process of muscle glycogen resynthesis and prevent a gradual process of muscle glycogen depletion that can occur over several days’ time or longer. Consume ½ gram (1gram/kg) body weight immediately after exercise and plenty of fluids. You may also take on 10-20 grams of protein, this will aid in muscle repair.
After a morning run you could consider consuming :-
• Cereal, milk and fruit + glass of juice
After evening run:-
• Recovery drink
Also within the 2 hrs consume the same amount of carbs and protein, to continue recovery.
• mid-morning snack (yoghurt, fruit)
• OR a dinner containing carbs from (rice, pasta, potatoes, or some whole grain)
Continue to drink fluids …………
Hot Training climate;
• Smoothies are refreshing and hydrating choice that have lots of carbs + protein
• Frozen fruits, frozen yoghurts & similar cold treats (sorbet, sherbets)
Elite runners look at running 10km (30min) – Marathon (2hrs) and the recreational runners are 1hr – 7hrs even some charity walkers. Hydration is critical for all runners, and fueling during the race is essential for any run over 90min. We have already spoken about pre-training nutrition, if you have been training a system then stick to the same for race day.
Here are some ideas of Meal Plans :- During Base cycle training.
Breakfast; OJ 240ml, French Toast 2 slices, Syrups, Strawberries
Lunch; Low –fat cheese 60g, Bread 2 slices, Tomato, yoghurt with fruit, pear
Snack; Crackers 8 small, Hummus, skim milk
Dinner, Rice, cooked, shrimp, red pepper, broccoli, sesame seed oil
Snack; frozen yoghurt, fruit slices
B; English muffin, cream chesse, jam, grapefruit, egg
L; pinto beans, rice, tortilla, salsa, cheese avocado
S; granola bar, peaches, almonds
D;Pasta, lean beef, marinara sauce, green salad, salad dressing
S; frozen yoghurt, blueberries
B; oatmeal, skim milk, wheat germ, bread, jam, OJ
L; chicken, bread, mayonnaise, rice and bean salad, grapes
S; energy bar, banana, yoghurt with fruit
D; tofu, Asian noodles, vegetables, sesame seed oil