Many running events are planned over summer and amidst all the questions about training, running technique and form, we also frequently get asked about diet. What should runners be eating during their training? What is the right type of fuel for the morning of the run? What should a runner’s food diary look like?
In today’s blog we look at all of these questions and we help to give you plenty of ideas about what your diet should consist of during your running training.
When Should I Start My Nutrition Plan?
We advise runners to kick-start their nutrition plan at least a month before the event. This is important because it will fuel you during your training and through a process of trial and error you will discover what works for you. The worst-case scenario would be to eat something that doesn’t agree with you during the week of your run!
Tip: Never try something completely new on race day
What Should I Eat a Week Before the Running Event?
This is the time for carb loading. Your meals for the week should be planned out in advance. As you won’t be training everyday, don’t overeat to the point of feeling bloated and heavy but it’s important to steadily build up your fuel store by consuming a higher daily intake of carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, 70-80% of your calorie intake should come from carbohydrates in the week before the organised run.
The night before your race, eat your dinner early, as you will be waking up earlier than usual. Keep it relatively light but low in fat and carbohydrate heavy.
Tip: The type of foods in your diet should include brown rice, sweet potatoes, pasta and porridge oats for breakfast.
What Is The Best Breakfast On The Morning Of My Run?
By race day, you should know exactly which foods work for you. We are all different and we each have our own formula, but there are some general rules to follow.
Eat around two to three hours before the race so your body has time to digest your breakfast. This may mean waking up earlier than usual so make sure you plan ahead. Have a snack if you feel hungry an hour before the race. A banana is a great option.
Choose a breakfast high in carbohydrates. Some examples include a wholemeal bagel with peanut butter, porridge with chopped fruits or even a chicken sandwich will do the trick.
Tip: Our tried and tested breakfast of choice is porridge and banana with a cup of black coffee
What Should I Eat Immediately After a Long Run?
After the long distance run itself, or an intense training session in the lead-up, you are in recovery phase and you need food, which will help with muscle repair. Within an hour after the run, snack on something small, like half a chicken sandwich, almonds and a banana or you can have a pre-prepared recovery smoothie, made up of Greek yoghurt and fruit such as blueberries, which are rich in antioxidants. You won’t want to eat anything too heavy immediately after the run – it is best to wait a few hours until your appetite returns.
Tip: You will be very tempted to indulge after the run and reach for junk food. This is understandable, but not the correct way to recover. Your body needs a healthy, balanced diet now more than ever, and you need to replace the nutrients lost with healthy and wholesome foods.
What should you eat?
- Prior to the event – You should focus on increasing carbs and protein in the days leading up to the event. Also be sure to prioritise your hydration by drinking lots of fluids.
- Dinner; 12 hours before – You should aim to get 60-70% of your calories from carbs, and also include lean protein within those meals, but remember not to overdo it. Examples: Try fish or chicken with brown rice, tofu and baked potato, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta.
- Breakfast; 3-4 hours before – We recommend that you consume around 15-20g of protein to help aid muscle repair, also eat around 5g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight for energy, and then to drink 20 oz of fluid (preferably water) to ensure you are hydrated. Isotonic drinks also are extremely good as they contain similar concentrations of sure and salt as our blood. Therefore, it quickly replaces fluids lost through sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate. Examples: Try oatmeal, berries, bagels & peanut butter and low-fat yogurt for optimum energy.
- Snack; 60-90 mins before – You should consume around 20-30g of carbohydrates Examples: a banana, energy bar etc. At about the 20-mile mark, it’s common for runners to ‘hit a wall’ in energy levels. Throughout the marathon carry your own water with a hydration pack or belt.
- During consume 4-6 oz of fluid every 2-3 minutes. Also try to eat 20-30g of carbohydrates per hour; dried fruit, energy gels, raisins.
- Post-Race, hydrate immediately, refuel within 3 hours with protein and carbohydrates; try protein pancakes, chicken and veggie omelette, fruit smoothies etc.
For more information on what you should be eating during running training, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org