Healthy Diet Tips for Runners
Diet is an important part of everyone’s life, but for a runner, it is something that is non-negotiable. A runner must put a lot of thinking in his diet, what he should eat, what foods to avoid, what time to eat, how much protein, carbs to eat etc. if a person wants to bring changes in his lifestyle, in his diet, and make his running better he should think about it deeply and should definitely consult a registered dietitian.
Just like this, if you do not pre-plan your meals, you will end up eating whatever is available when you get hungry. Of course, food is a necessity and also a pleasure, but to know what your body needs is important. Especially when you are an athlete, it is extremely important that you give the body the right kind of food and a to eat a balanced diet after a hard day of physical activity.
Having an inadequate diet for runners can be very risky for him. Runners performance, mood, body all depends on that diet. So, if you are a long-distance runner there might be some things that you can learn here today. A runner ‘s diet play a crucial part in his life and growth and also in lose weight.
So, the first thing that we will discuss before discussing the actual runner ‘s diet is the timings of the meals. So eating is necessary of course, but there are sometimes in the day for a runner where he needs to eat some specific kinds of food. Runners need to know what he is going to eat before his run, and maybe if his run is long, in between and run and of course after his run.
Not fueling up properly before a run is a biggest concern. Runners have to keep a balance there to be better at running. Eating too much can effect your performance and running of course, but eating too little will make you not perform at all. Human body needs energy to meet it’s daily requirements. If not provided it will not be able to carry out some of the most important and common functions in daily life. A runner should avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Now what kind of food to eat before a run. It will be the food that will be able to provide you ample amount of energy for you run. And we know the food group that provides instant energy is carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates in a Runner’s Diet:
Carbohydrates have been seen as the bad guy for centuries now and have been blamed
as a culprit in obesity and weight gain. But carbs are extremely necessary for the brain and the muscles. And they help give instant energy for the brain to think, and to the muscles to work.
So, the first thing a runner should consume prior to his run is a meal fairly high in carbohydrates, 1 to 4 hours prior to his run that will keep providing him fuel throughout the run. Now some of the options for a pre-run meal or snacks are
- Whole grains that may include breads, pasta, quinoa, black beans
- Fruits, vegetables like banana, berries etc.
- Yogurts like fruit yogurt, Greek yogurt etc.
A runner can have a peanut butter sandwich, a handful of nuts, a turkey sandwich, a bowl of fresh yogurt before his run that will be fun and also healthy snacks before his run. Peanut Butter has proved to be really helpful source of energy for many runners.
If you are running for a long time, say a marathon, you will again need to fuel up your body in the middle of the run. Here you can either have solid food containing carbohydrates (carbs) or you can take concentrated carbohydrates in the form of energy drinks that are available in the market. That will allow you to get hydrated as well as get your energy throughout the day and fuel for the run.
Now after the run of let’s say two hours, it is usually advised by Sports Nutritionists that you have a combination of protein and carbohydrates. Proteins for the muscles and carbohydrates for the fueling. It will provide a great balance and is adequate for you.
Hydration in a Runner’s Diet:
Moving on to the next most important thing in diet that is hydration. Runners need to hydrate themselves properly before they go for the run. That does not mean chugging up a lot of water at once just before the exercise. It will make you heavy, bloated and nauseous. So, the ideal thing is that you start consuming water 3 to 4 hours before the run so that it gives your body time to properly take it.
Also, hydration is extremely important for all the body processes. As a runner you tend to sweat a lot, so you need to take your water intake seriously for the sake of your health. So, make sure to hydrate before you run, during your run and after your run wisely.
What Should be The Everyday Food Choices for an Avid Runner:
Now let’s talk about the food choices a runner has to make in his daily life. as a runner you do not have to deprive yourself of some foods, but you should definitely watch what you eat. There are some tips that are useful for a runner to maintain a healthy and well-balanced life.
Quit refined sugars:
Refined sugars are not healthy for anyone and for a runner, definitely not. So be very cautious of them as they can pay a part in increasing your weight. Do not have high calorie drinks and juices packed with sugars.
There are many replacements of sugar available in the market called ad sweeteners, you can use them if you have a urge to have sugar in your foods or drinks. Have more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with micronutrient and low in calories so make sure you incorporate 4 to 5 servings of fruits and veggies in your meals per day.
Protein is extremely important for a runner:
A runner needs to build lean muscle tissues in order to be fit, so he should definitely take a runner ‘s diet that is high in protein that is adequate for his body weight and level of physical activity. However, taking extra protein as per your need will not benefit you contrary to the popular belief, so take according to your need.
Adding complex carbohydrates in runner ‘s diet is really important. Carbs are very important to provide you energy for your run. So do not ignore them or avoid them for the sake of weight loss.