As a Runner, it’s very important to understand how to eat right. It helps you maintain the energy needed for your trainings. You asked me if you should eat before a run and what do I usually have after it, I answered it in last week article: What to eat before and after your run.
Eating right means having a balanced diet that includes essentially: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
In this article, I will be writing more about each one of the above so you get to understand more about those nutrients and how important they are for you.
Don’t worry Runner, you shouldn’t be afraid of Carbs. They aren’t your enemy. On the contrary, Carbs are the best source of energy for athletes.
Carbohydrates should be around 60% to 65% of your total calorie intake.
Did you know that our bodies work way more efficiently with carbs than they do with fats and proteins?
But when I say Carbs I mean the good ones.
Start by replacing your white bread with whole wheat, your rice and pasta with brown rice and pasta. Whole grains food are less processed, they provide you with more nutrients, vitamins and fibre which makes you feel full for a longer time.
Below is a list of carbohydrates to consider next time you go to the supermarket:
– Starchy Vegetables
– Whole grain bread
– Whole grain pasta
– Brown Rice
Protein is also used for some energy but mainly to restore and feed your muscle: to fix the damaged tissues caused after trainings. Protein is a very important nutrient for those who wants to lose weight mainly because it makes you feel full for a very long time.
Proteins should be 15% to 35% of your total calories intake.
Note that sedentary people needs to consume less proteins than endurance athletes.
Of course, try to focus on proteins that are low in fat and cholesterol such as:
– Lean meat
– Whole grain
Yes, you need to have some Fat in your diet. Again balance is key! Fat is very essential to the body as it helps prevent certain diseases. However it should be 20% to 35% of your total calories intake, otherwise you might be putting on weight. Go for the food that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Nuts, oils and cold-water fish are good options that you can have and are very rich in Omega 3.
Vitamins and Minerals:
Very important to include them in your diet, even though they aren’t a source of energy, as many assume they are. Exercice may produce substances that can damage cells, this is why Vitamins are required as they neutralize this substance.
On the other hand, Minerals are a real ally for runners. Most important ones are:
– Calcium : essential to prevent osteoporosis and stress fractures. You can find a good source of calcium in dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, beans, dark leafy vegetables and eggs.
– Iron : If you have an iron-poor diet you may feel tired and weak all the time, specially when you run. Iron is very important as it delivers oxygen to your cells.
Good natural source of Iron: lean meat, leafy green vegetables, nuts, shrimps and scallops.
– Sodium and other electrolytes: Sodium and other electrolytes are lost through sweat while you exercise. With a balanced diet, usually electrolytes get replaced. However if you crave for some salty food, this can be a message from your body to get more sodium. You can have a sports drink or some pretzels after a run.
For runs that go more than 90 minutes, you should replace the sodium and electrolytes lost while sweating. Take sports drinks with you on the long run or salt candies (they are specifically for long trainings).
Now that you know more about the nutrients and how important they are for you, it’s time to truly take care of your body and have a healthy balanced diet.
If you want to become a better runner, you should definitely have a better diet. Diet and Exercise work together for you to reach your goals.
Leave a comment below if you have any question, you can always message me directly through Instagram via @lr.t_ .
See you next week, Runner!