Focusing on your diet will help you maintain your routine as a runner. Remember, food is fuel. The types of food you choose play a significant role in achieving your total energy and performance potential. Choosing the right foods can also help to eliminate issues you may encounter in the middle of your run. To feel your best, consider these tips to guide you on what foods will benefit you the most.
For the perfect breakfast before or after a run, oatmeal will provide you with plenty of carbohydrates and is high in fiber. Additionally, a healthy bowl of oatmeal has a low glycemic index, giving you more energy over an extended period. The average adult gets 50% of their energy from carbohydrates alone.
A perfect combination of proteins and macronutrients exists in a single yogurt serving. Containing nearly 85% amino acids, which your body cannot synthesize on its own and can protect your muscles to speed up your recovery after a run. It contains the calcium needed to strengthen your bones and live probiotics to stimulate your gut flora and immune system. As a runner, it should be an integral part of your diet. To maintain the health of your gut, try adding a probiotic supplement.
A banana is always the right choice whether you need an energy boost high in carbs before or after your run. Bananas contain a hefty dose of potassium and are excellent if you are training as a distance runner in high temperatures where you are likely to sweat more than average. When you lose valuable minerals, the potassium in bananas will help to compensate.
Eggs have a bad reputation, but they are incredibly healthy and provide all the critical vitamins, nutrients, and amino acids your body needs. Eating eggs help runners to support muscle recovery and growth. Ideally, the best time to consume them is within an hour after your run with a carbohydrate to get the full benefits of this protein.
Natural peanut butter, free of salt, oil and sugar, is a good source of vitamin E, the most effective antioxidant among the family of vitamins. Although it contains a high amount of fat, peanut butter consists of beneficial fatty acids that can help strengthen your immune system. That makes it an essential part of a runner’s diet, and you can enjoy it with a few slices of apple or on a piece of whole-grain toast with bananas.
Broccoli is full of vitamin C and an excellent food for any runner. It helps to prevent sore muscles after a day of intense training and is a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and calcium. Brocolli tastes great plain out of the steamer, or you can pair it with a nice piece of salmon, tofu or a lean cut of beef.
Whole Grain Pasta
As a new runner, you may have had the pleasure of attending a pasta party with other runners the night before a marathon. The reason is to bulk up on a high-carb meal to fill glycogen reserves that can help energy levels to prepare for the long run. The pasta contains additional vitamin B and is vital to supporting muscle strength and endurance. Choose the whole grain variety with simple ingredients like fish with tomato sauce.
Potatoes are high in potassium and should be a staple in your diet. Less in calories than rice, they are great as a recovery meal. Pair them with salmon, eggs, chicken or other lean protein to get a good source of vitamin A to enhance your diet.
The bottom line is that whether you are new to running or seasoned, your diet should balance the proper vitamins and nutrients to keep you healthy and in shape. The foods that you eat and when you consume them should always align with the goals you are trying to achieve. Learning the value of what you put into your body will keep you on the right track.