EAT BETTER TO RUN BETTER: THE RUNNER’S DIET
Whether you are a beginner, occasional runner, or marathoner , providing your body with the right fuel is essential if you want to achieve your best running performance . We have therefore put in place for you a short guide to sports nutrition that will allow you to know what to eat before, during and after a running session.
HERE’S WHAT TO EAT …
… BEFORE A RACE
Good sports nutrition before your running training can have a very positive influence on your performance, but it can also slow you down considerably. Avoid foods high in fiber and fat right before you go for a run as they are difficult to digest and may stick on your stomach. Also wait at least 3 hours after a heavy meal (consisting of carbohydrates and protein) before you start. You can, however, have a small, low-fiber, high-carb snack about 30 to 60 minutes before your run. Typically your body needs about 30 to 60 g of carbohydrate per hour of intense effort over 60 minutes or for more moderate sessions over 90 minutes. So don’t forget to fill up your glycogen stores.
Some examples of small snacks before the race (around 50 g of carbohydrates):
- two bananas
- two slices of toast with honey or jam
- two low fiber granola bars
- 75 g of dried fruit (e.g. apricots)
Also, be sure not to eat new foods before your run to avoid unpleasant surprises! Also make sure you drink enough water . In most cases, water will provide you with what you need, but you can also hydrate yourself with a good sports drink. Be careful, if you don’t drink enough before or during your training, your running performance will suffer.
DURING THE RACE
Staying well hydrated during a long distance run (over an hour) is vital to avoid dehydration and fatigue. A study by the University of Connecticut confirmed that even minimal fluid loss (less than 2% body mass loss) can significantly affect your stamina and lead to dehydration.
Do you intend to run more than 10 km? Then add 600 to 1000 ml of water and / or drink rich in electrolytes per hour of activity.
Also, be sure to fill your glycogen stores with carbohydrates (30 to 60 per hour). Be well prepared and always have energy gels or high carbohydrate drinks on hand.
Prepare your sports drinks yourself:
- For moderate intensity running training (less than an hour): 80 ml of multivitamin syrup + 920 ml of water + a pinch of salt
- For intense running training (over an hour): 70 ml of fruit syrup + 930 ml of mineral water (non-carbonated) + 20 g of maltodextrin + a pinch of salt
- For very intense workouts (more than 1h30): 400 ml of fruit whey + 600 ml of water + a pinch of salt
AFTER THE RACE
Recharge your batteries after a run with a small snack of complex carbohydrates and protein (3: 1 ratio) about an hour after the end of your run. This will help you replenish your glycogen stores and aid the recovery process . However, be careful not to overeat: it could make your stomach hurt.
Some small post-workout snacks:
- a mango and chia seed smoothie
- a bowl of oatmeal with milk and dried fruits
- a vegetable omelet with a slice of wholemeal bread