Nutrition is a major part of the training process. What you fuel your body with and when you choose to eat can without a doubt have a serious impact on your running. If you fill up with junk, there is a pretty good chance your performance will suffer. When you focus on eating better for you foods your energy levels, and therefore your running, will improve!
Figuring out what exactly you should eat can be tricky and for some, it can be an overwhelming task. With that in mind, I pieced together a little cheat sheet for you all that includes what types of things you should be eating and when you should eat them. I hope you find it helpful!
What to Eat: Some form of easily digestible carbohydrate. For runs shorter than an hour, a simple slice of whole wheat toast with a smear of nut butter is perfect. Gives you energy without weighing you down. For longer runs, you can simply up the amount of intake. So, instead of one piece of toast, go with two. I also like to add half a banana if I’m going reaaallly far, say 15 miles or more.
When to Eat: About 30 minutes before you set out. This gives your body time to digest and get all that lovely glucose from the carbohydrate into your bloodstream. Glucose=energy!
What to Eat: If you are running for less than an hour, you don’t need a thing. However, if you are going over an hour you need some sort of fuel as you go. Otherwise, you’ll run out of gas and hit the dreaded “wall”. I usually go for the GU mint chocolate flavor.
When to Eat: When running anywhere from 8-10 miles, I take one at the half way point. If going further, I usually pop one every 45 minutes.
What to Eat: If you have only gone a few miles, say 4-6, you don’t necessarily need to refuel. Your next planned meal should be just fine. But, if you feel like you are about to gnaw off your own arm, grab a handful or nuts such as almonds to keep your hunger at bay.
If you have gone anything over 7 or 8 miles, you need to get some fuel in you as soon as possible. Ideally, you want some carbs and protein. The perfect post long run snack, in my book, is chocolate milk! It has that stellar carb/protein balance which puts your muscles on the fast track to recovery.
When to Eat: For shorter runs, if possible, your next meal. For longer runs…ASAP!
Of course, these are all things that have worked well for me and may not necessarily work well for you. Every person is different and we each have our own particular needs. Do what feels right for you and your body.
Get more recipes and tips from Ashleigh on her blog, Simple Honest Real!
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