Running as a sport in itself has a specific needs and pre-requisites. To get the best of the performance, runners need to play close attention to no only what they eat but also when they what they need to. Following a well-charted plan not only helps improve endurance and performance but also works on the fuel stores and helps in their better recovery.
Following are few nutrition tips that can come handy for runners:
Consuming the right amount of protein and carbs helps maximize the overall athletic performance for runners. While carbohydrates are your main source of fuel especially during runs, protein is required for adequate refueling and muscle recovery.
Carbs- These big boys drastically influence your energy levels and performance. Based on the recommendations by nutrition faculties, you should consume 1-2 gm. of carbs per kg. of body weight for light to moderate training (for <60 minutes), and anywhere between 5-10 gm. of carbs per kg. of body weight for more than 4-5 hours of training.
Proteins– As much as they need carbs to keep them going for longer, endurance runners need more of protein as well. As per ISSN, endurance runners need protein between 1.0-1.6 gm. per kg. of body weight per day.
Fats– While protein and carbs get the limelight when it comes to fueling in a runner’s diet, fat the third important macronutrient must not be overlooked; the PUFAs and MUFAs (mono and fatty acids) like olive oil, flax seed oil, walnuts, avocados, canola oil, etc-are the healthiest fat choices that you can consume. MUFAs have since a long time been linked to a decreased stroke and heart risk and research conclude that taking Omega 3 fatty acids omega-3 PUFAs, particularly EPA, play a beneficial role in maintaining total protein balance. It is thought that one of the main underlying causes of muscle wasting conditions, such as sarcopenia, is an impaired muscle protein synthesis response to anabolic stimuli.
Glucose: The first 15 minutes after you finish your run is the best time to consume glucose drinks as the nutrients will be absorbed better by the muscle seeking fuel.
Hydration– Maintaining a steady water intake throughout is absolutely essential for runners as they are likely to sweat more than average. The ideal rule to o by is to keep your minimal fluid intake about 2-2.5 liters by including herbal teas, sports drinks, water, juices. Avoid skimping on fluid intake as dehydration may lead to headaches, cramps, early fatigue and a host of other problems that may hamper your performance overall.
Suggested Read: Why Runners Need Protein More Than They Think They Do
Micronutrients: These little talked about but important nutrients play a vital role in your performance. Extra energy demands would also mean that you will need to have more vitamins and minerals as well. While you can always get the nutrients from bottled supplements ideally, these should be coming in through a well planned, balanced diet that includes whole, fresh foods.