Running is one of my many favorite things to do. It’s a great stress reliever and I am able to explore new areas at the same time. With running there are many important things to keep in mind in regards to nutrition, either before, during, or after. This goes with exercise in general. Before you start up a new exercise regiment, be sure to talk with your primary care physician. With that said I will share some of my many running tips with you:
Invest in a roller stick!
A foam roller is also a great investment. It has helped me tremendously after marathons, 5k’s, speed work outs, etc. by decreasing my muscle soreness and fatigue. The picture below is a roller stick that I own.
By using a roller on your muscles, it helps to stimulate the blood flow to your muscles and overall circulation. It also helps to prevent your muscles from tightening up.
Carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are very important and unfortunately many people think that carbohydrates are bad for you. I can’t stress how much this is so false!!! Obviously if you are eating the processed (simple carbohydrates) types of carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, crackers, french fries, pies) then those aren’t going to do you any good. However complex carbohydrates (aka fiber) is the way to go (whole grain bread, apples, starchy vegetables, whole grain pasta, bran, etc.). Fiber acts to help keep you full, and aids in digestion. It helps to bind the excess bile in your diet. Complex carbohydrates will help aid in weight loss, decrease cholesterol, as well as ones risk of heart disease.
Your body runs on glucose (aka sugar which is carbohydrates). Your brain uses glucose to function, as do your organs, and overall physical activity. Without carbohydrates you will feel fatigued, and tired all the time.
Start slow, especially if you are new to running.
You want to start slow to get your body use to running. It is something that takes some time, so be patient. Start running 3 days/week for 20 minutes-30 minutes. Overtime increase to 5x/wk with a long run on Sunday. Once you feel comfortable, increase your mileage on your long runs every 2 wks by about 1-2 miles. If you are interested in doing speed/track workouts then aim for 2-3x/wk for those.
Don’t overload on carbohydrates before a race!
Often times athletes tend to overload too much on carbohydrates the week, or days before a big race. This can cause tiredness, muscle soreness, weight gain, and overall fatigue.
Tip # 5
Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats are all important in training
Carbohydrates: As previously stated, you need carbohydrates to be able to function or else you will “hit the wall” in a race. They are your main fueling source. Aim for whole grains, fresh fruits/vegetables, since those are all higher in fiber. Never try anything new the day of a race or the night before.
Aim for 45-60% of your overall calories coming from carbohydrate sources
Proteins: Protein not your primary source for your runs, however it does help to build and repair your muscles. Aids in helping to prevent against muscle break down. So therefore it is just as important. Healthy sources include lean meats such as chicken, turkey, beans, lentils, chia seeds, eggs, nuts, fish, whole grains, and vegetables.
Aim for 10-15% of your overall calories coming from Protein
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following: Endurance Athletes 1.2-1.4g/kg of body weight of protein/day. Power Athletes: (strength or speed) 1.2-1.7 g/kg of body weight. Note: this is per kg not per lb!
- For example, an athlete training for a marathon weighing 118 lbs (54 kg) would require (65-76 g of protein/day).
Fats: Fats are great fuel for your longer runs. Aim for healthy unsaturated fatty acids, like almonds, nut butters, salmon (great source of Omega-3 fatty acids), chia seeds, olive oil etc.
Aim for 25-25% of your overall calories coming from Fat
Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after an activity/race. It is also important to have a fluid source providing electrolytes. Gatorade isn’t always a great idea due to the high amounts of sugar it contains. If you would like to know more about what types of electrolytes then feel free to email me for more information.
Note: All of the information provided above has been information that I have learned from my overall 5 years of schooling to become and RD or from “Sports Nutrition” from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.