A lot of people take running for granted; some would just think that it can be done by everyone as long as they have the necessary equipment like customized running shirts, running shoes, cycling or compression shorts and so on.
But what some of you don’t know is that running takes a lot more work and effort in preparation and even more work at the time of competition. An important part in preparing for a run, whether it’s a marathon, triathlon or the Iron Man challenge, is the diet. I am going to share with you a couple of critical issues regarding a runner’s diet.
1.) Running is an endurance sport – Your leg muscles will take a beating when it comes to running. The basic principle of any endurance sport is that muscles are worked and trained by using strenuous activities to the point of muscle soreness; powerlifters often call this as DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The next day of training would involve light activities which would your muscles to recover from yesterday’s hard work. This alternation between HARD/EASY day training is one of the sports’ standard training methods and it works. What some people don’t know, and most physiologists recommend, is that consumption of carbohydrates after a hard training day can help your muscles recover faster and additional research indicates that the consumption of protein can also help you recover faster.
2.) Eating before the run or workout – Did you know that you’re able to perform better in training on a lighter stomach? But if your training regimen lasts for more than an hour, then you may need to eat more prior to doing your workout or run. This is because our liver provides sugar to our bloodstream when we exercise, but the amount it produces is very limited. Take note that we all have different physiologies and you may need to experiment what works for you in term of pre-workout meals.
3.) What you should eat – If you’ve always wondered why runners are able to fit into their tight personalized running shirts, this is because of their healthy diet. While majority of famous athletes don’t always follow or adhere to their diet plan, it doesn’t imply that you should do the same. Michael Phelps is known to consume a lot of high cholesterol fatty food but it doesn’t give you the right to do the same now, does it? By following this simple guideline, you will be able to make the most out of your runner’s diet:
- Eat a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fat.
- When your training increases intensity, so should your carbohydrate intake.
- Try to include fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Avoid eating junk foods.
4.) Your calorie intake – Since you will be active on a daily basis, here’s a recommended calorie intake so you can make the most out of your diet:
- 15% to 25% fat
- 20% to 25% protein
- 50% to 65% carbohydrates
A major change in your food intake can help improve your performance in training and in competing. Don’t be that guy who just shops for custom running shirts just for the sake of looking like a real runner; be that guy or girl who’ll take it to the next level and out-perform everyone else.