An Expert Guide to Running Nutrition


AN EXPERT GUIDE TO RUNNING NUTRITION

If you're looking to up your mileage or beat your PB it's important to fuel your body properly before, during, and after your run to ensure you're running at your best.

We asked Pure Sports Medicine Dietician Linia Patel for her advice on how best to fuel your muscles to keep us running further and for longer. 


Pre-Run Nutrition

Have a snack about 1 to 2 hours before a run.

 

If you head out at sunrise try to eat a little before your run, such as a banana, and then finish your run with breakfast afterwards.

 

A pre-exercise snack of 100-300 calories is plenty for runs of up to 1 hour. 

Small Snack Examples

  • A banana
  • A smoothie
  • An energy gel with water
  • An energy (all natural or otherwise) bar

For longer runs, or if you run later in the day, aim to consume 300-500 calories 1 to 2 hours before exercise. Long lasting breakfast combinations will be rich in complex carbohydrates, have a small amount of protein and a little healthy fat.

Larger Snacks or Breakfast Examples

  • Oats porridge with semi-skimmed milk and fruit compote
  • Muesli with Greek yogurt
  • Toast with peanut butter and banana

Pre-Run Foods to Avoid

Although pre-run foods should be high in carbohydrates avoid any that make you feel full or heavy and in particular, in the 2 to 4 hours before your run avoid the following foods known to cause gastrointestinal distress.

  • High fibre foods
  • Excessively fatty foods
  • Spicy food
  • Too much caffeine
  • Alcohol

Your recovery window is up to 30 minutes after exercise; the quicker you refuel after a run, the faster you'll recover!

 

After you run you want to ingest a small snack or meal with a good carbohydrate and protein ratio.

Carbohydrates to replace your glycogen stores ready to fuel your next workout and protein for muscle repair and recovery.

 

The ideal recovery ratio is 3:1 carbohydrate to protein.

Post-Run Recovery

  • Chocolate milk or milkshake
  • Natural yoghurt based smoothie
  • Toast with peanut (or almond) butter
  • Muesli with Greek yoghurt and mixed berries

A good diet is just as important in training as it is in competition. It's important to ensure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet so that you efficiently recover from training sessions and reduce the risk of injury.

Best Foods for Running:

[1] Salmon

A good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s which help soothe post-run aches and pains.

 

[2] Lean beef

A great protein food which is also high in iron, a nutrient that marathon runners are often low on.

 

[3] Wholegrains

Wholegrain carbs like whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, barley and wild rice. This is all fundamental for providing energy and recovery.

Combining wholegrain carbs with a lean source of protein (like chicken) before a long run can help increase energy (glycogen) stored in your body’s muscles.

 


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