Nutrition for Runners- Nailing the Basics
With the marathon season kicking off and a series of runs coming your way, it is important to address your nutrition before a run. Nutrition is one of the key determinants of performance. Whether you choose to run a 5k, 10k or 21k, these simple nutrition tips will help you fuel your run better.
Before the run: Pre run meals or snacks are an important source of fuel for the run that follows. The composition of a pre-run meal will depend on how much time there is between the meal and the start of the run. If you have 2-4 hours of time, then a carbohydrate rich meal with slow release carbohydrates like oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread can be consumed. White rice can also be part of a meal. If you have 30 minutes to an hour before the run, lighter options like fruit with yoghurt, fruit smoothies or even cereal act as good fuel sources.
During the run: For most 5k runners, plain water would suffice during the course of the run. For 10k and 12k runners, in addition to plain water, some source of quick carbohydrates might be necessary along with electrolytes. Hydration stations are usually equipped with dates or bananas that act as a source of fuel during the run.
Electrolytes provided also help in replenishing what is lost as sweat. If you are running a 21k, then it becomes all the more important for you to fuel yourself during the course of the run
In addition, irrespective of distance, sipping on water or a sports drink every 15-20 minutes will help prevent dehydration.
After the run: Post exercise meals should be nutrient rich and preferably composed of carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, potatoes, instant oatmeal, whole wheat bread etc. Apart from carbohydrates, protein sources in a post run meal are extremely important. Protein sources can be eggs, chicken, greek yoghurt,paneer,tofu or a protein supplement. Recovery should not be restricted to just the immediate period after the run, but should also be prioritized through the day.
Each individual has a unique amount of energy they require based on their lifestyle and activity levels. While the amount of each macronutrient mentioned above will differ from person to person, these pointers are the foundation.
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