For runners, food is more than simple nutrition - Food is fuel. What do runners eat? What diet do runners follow? and When should you eat before, during and after your runs? Everyone is curious to know the diet of a runner and what keeps them going. Most runners have to eat healthy to maintain the nutrient requirements of their body. Even athletes in the best shape of their lives have to give up on little cravings. For runners, sticking to meal plans or a nutrition program is just as important as keeping to an exercise or training regimen. Since everything you eat and drink will affect your performance, fueling yourself with nutritious snacks and healthy meal options is the best way to strengthen your body while staying healthy.
“It’s often said, that an apple a day keeps a doctor away, but I would rather say that good nutrition keeps a doctor away", says Shaily Chauhan, Nutritionist & dietician
Keep in mind these nutritional tips when meal planning.
The majority of a runner’s diet should be whole foods, not energy bars or smoothies!!
By sticking to healthy options like fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, chicken, and low-fat dairy, you’ll get the nutrients you need without cutting corners by relying on processed foods. Drinking smoothies and snacking on energy bars is okay as a supplement but try not to replace entire meals with these convenience-based alternatives. By stocking up on fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks at home, you can meal prep, and have much better control over what and how much you're eating and drinking each day.
Repair with Clean protein
The body uses protein to repair tissue damaged during training, and protein-rich foods supply us with much needed energy. For runners who eat meat, the best sources of protein come from the white meats: chicken, turkey, and fish. For vegans or vegetarians, we recommend getting protein from nutritious foods like tofu, lentils, green peas, oats and oatmeal, chia seeds, nuts, amaranth, and quinoa. Proteins are normally used for muscle recovery and it plays a very important role in case of distance runners as it helps to restore the muscle fibers after the long-distance training so that they are ready again to run.
Drink about 6-8 glasses of water per day. You can also include fluids such as soups, low fat milk, soy beverages or unsweetened juices as part of your fluid intake if you have a hard time sticking to just water. It’s easy to eat when you’re dehydrated. Remember to drink water throughout the day instead of just when you’re working out. Consistency is key. And throwing back energy drinks doesn’t consist of hydrating.
Cut back on artificial and unnecessary sugars
Consuming less alcohol, sodas, sweets, sugary snacks and anything with artificial sugars will significantly improve not only your performance training as a runner but quality of life as well. A good rule of thumb: Sugars that come from natural sources are better for you and will provide far better energy than foods made of processed sugars. Try replacing sugary snacks like candy or breakfast bars with fruits like apples or fresh-mixed berries to add color to your diet while still getting a healthy serving of sugar and satisfying your sweet tooth in an unexpected way!
Eat for Recovery
Just as pre-workout nutrition is essential to help you get through a run, the foods you eat after a workout can help you get stronger, recover faster, and be more inclined to get back out there for your next workout. Post workout; I always tell my fellow champs to consume a fruit before a selfie! added Shaily Chauhan, Nutritionist and dietician.
Your post-workout meal is the ideal time for starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, or beans. This will help refuel your glycogen stores and help you recover for the following day. While a marathoner may require a post-run meal to replenish glycogen stores, a beginner who runs 30 minutes or less will requires less food. Therefore it's important to assess what works best for you and another reason you may want to consult a professional.
Many runners give weightage to only macro nutrients like carbs, protein and fats but what they miss out is the micro nutrients. Equal weightage should be given to nourish yourself with vitamins and minerals. Magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 play a very important role for running and should not be neglected, concluded Shaily Chauhan, Nutritionist and dietician.
"Train SMART by eating RIGHT!"
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