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Previous Articles

Training - The Critical Weeks

This is the key part of your training program


Should You Eat Before A Run?


Marathon Training & Life Balance


Knee Pain Prevention


What's The Best Marathon Training Program?


Finding Time To Do Your Marathon Training


Vary Your Training

 & run a better marathon


Marathon Recovery


Setting Your Marathon Time Goal


Getting Started

Thoughts on Deciding to Run a Marathon


Conquer Those Hills!

How to overcome the hill challenges


Marathon Countdown

Tips on getting ready for the big event!


Marathon Success Secrets


How To Improve Your Training


Keep on Track With The Right Schedule


Diet Pointers


Runners' Diet & Nutrition


Training Tips For Beginners


Hot Weather Running


Be A Marathon Mentalist

-Sports Psychology


Marathon Training - Recovery Days


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Runner's Diet & Nutrition

 

If you're like me and you've been running for a number of years you have probably realized that runners are paying much more attention to their diet than they did previously

As runners we burn a lot of calories during our runs and we obviously have to replace this energy without overdoing it! The article below discusses some key nutritional guidelines.

              

Eat This!

The nutritional goal of our runners' diet is to eat the best mix of food types that will keep us healthy and strong. Everyone knows how important it is to eat plenty of fresh produce like grains and fruit and vegetables. Salads and raw vegetables are good because they have not lost nutrients due to cooking.

Fish and chicken are better foods than red meat. Products made from soy or whey are a good alternative to animal protein. Your body can also benefit from a  ‘vegetarian’ day once a week without meats or fish.

 

Not This!

Fast foods shouldn’t be a regular part of your running diet. The large amount of saturated fat and poor quality carbohydrates found in many fast foods will not help your training. (Although the fast food chains are making an effort to improve the nutritional quality of their meals)

Frozen dinners have lost much of their nutritional value during the preparation process.

If you like coffee try to keep it to three cups or less per day. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation, even though runners often enjoy some well deserved beer after their runs!. 

 

How Many Calories Do We Need?

Complex carbohydrates have formed the basis of runners' diets for many years. However the right combination of protein, carbohydrates and fat is necessary to maintain muscle strength as well as simply providing energy for your runs.

How much do we need? Everyone's metabolism is different and you should look at how much  training you are doing. If you have high weekly mileage you need to increase your  carbohydrate intake. My recommendations in terms of percentage of your total calorie intake are as follows:

  • 50 – 65 % calories from complex carbohydrates such as whole grains

  • 15 – 25% calories from fat, which should be unsaturated wherever possible

  • 20 – 25% calories from protein.

We often end up eating too much animal protein, which can be hard on the digestive system if you overdo it.

The amount you need depends on several factors including training intensity, weight, and gender.

Use our online calculator to get an idea of your calorie requirements.

 

Quick Meal and Snack Ideas

All too often don’t have time to prepare full meals. Here are a few alternatives to the cheeseburger choice:

  • Chicken Caesar makes a quick healthy meal, - add some carbohydrate like whole wheat French bread.

  • Nuts are great snacks full of vitamins and nutrients

  • Bananas make a easy snack and contain potassium which runners need

  • Soups like lentil soup have a lot of nutritional value

 

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients and are a great nutritional source

 

 that will contribute to your well-being. Increase your  intake of these foods and you will see many benefits including more energy and vitality.

 

Juicing

I like to have a carrot and apple juice combination in the mornings. Since the vegetables are juiced raw, you don’t lose nutrients either. This can also be  a quick complement to a light meal. (There are many books available about juicing if you are interested).

 

Drink Enough Water

We’ve all heard of the 8 glasses a day rule, but how many of us actually do it? The benefits of drinking lots of water are well known. Being properly hydrated will replenish the fluid lost through sweating and help you run faster.

 

Vitamin supplements

If you ate a good diet all the time you probably wouldn’t need many supplements. Vitamins B, C and E are basic supplements you can include as part your overall nutrition. For men, Saw Palmetto extract is supposed to help guard against prostate problems. For people over 50, calcium supplements in moderation are good for guarding against osteoporosis.

 

Fish Oil

There are many studies showing the value of fish oil in our diet. These include:

  • Helping your oxygen uptake

  • Fat burning

  • Helping the body’s joints to function better

You can usually buy these in capsule form for easy ingestion

 

 

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It's Your Choice!

We all have different opinions about what to eat, so really it’s your choice! Following basic nutritional guidelines like…

  • Balanced proportions of carbohydrate, protein, fat

  • Increase your carbohydrate consumption as your training intensifies

  • Moderate calorific intake

  • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Moderate alcohol and coffee consumption

  • Less sweets, and ‘junk’ food

… will benefit your running diet and help keep you healthy and fit.

 

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