Running for exercise (or sport) requires good nutrition to fuel the body. Doctors and nutritionists have rounded out specific foods that aid in the performance and recovery of your body, allowing you focus on what’s really important — running the race.
As you burn more calories going the extra miles, these 5 nutritional foods will help sustain your run:
- Water – A necessity for everyone, but especially for a runner. Dehydration is one of the top complains from runners. As you run, your heart rate will increase which will cause you to sweat, losing those valuable H2O’s. Try and drink two liters of water per day, roughly 8 cups. Spread this out as consistently as possible throughout the day to ensure your water levels are optimal.
- Protein – With exercise your body will break down muscle to fuel your body. But isn’t the goal of running to build or maintain muscle? This is where protein comes into play. Experts recommend that you consume .8 grams (g) per kilogram (kg) of body weight (see lb. conversion table below.) Getting the appropriate amount of protein is important and takes some planning, but with the right amount you’ll be able to give your body the strength it needs.
- Complex carbohydrates – This is another type of body fuel that will break down much differently then protein and give you a steady stream of fuel. The key here is to avoid unrefined foods and products. What you’ll want to look for is whole grains and vegetables that won’t give you sharp sugar spikes. Eating about a 60% carbohydrate diet will ensure a consistent bank of energy.
- Vitamins and minerals – extra energy means extra vitamins and minerals. In a perfect world these would come directly from the food you’re eating, but sometimes your health requires a boost. Try a multivitamin that provides B6, helps break down protein, D, which helps with calcium absorption, and C, that fights free radical damage.
- Candy – you read that right. Now that we’ve talked about the “serious” stuff, how about something that you’ll actually enjoy chomping on! Experts say that if you’re running for longer than an hour go ahead and throw some candy in your belly to keep you going. Jellybeans, gummy bears or Swedish fish are excellent choices (and some of my favs.)
Converting Pounds (lbs.) to kg:
Divide your current weight in pounds by 2.2
Example: 160-pound male is (160/2.2=) 72.7 kg