Your pre run nutrition is crucial to your success. It can prevent fatigue and early burn out. No matter how much time is spent training, nutrition can make or break a race. Anyone who’s ever had a bad run due to inappropriate pre-run fueling knows that not having enough of the right foods can lead to low energy, muscle cramping and spasms. Don’t ruin all your hard work by not eating right! Here are just a few of many things to remember…
Running in 15 to 30 Minutes
Easy to stash, slow to spoil, and hard to bruise, oranges quench your thirst while providing more than 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin C. “This vitamin helps prevent muscle injuries and replaces collagen in muscle fibers that break down during exercise,” says sports dietitian Pamela Nisevich Bede, M.S., R.D., of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat! Sports Nutrition. One orange has just 62 calories, enough to quiet a growling stomach before a short run without going overboard.
Running in 30 to 60 Minutes
Forget the Kashi GoLean before lacing up. While high-fiber cereals are a healthy bet any other time of day, they’ll likely cause stomach trouble during a run.
“Muscles can convert simple carbs into energy faster than fiber-rich foods,” says sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin, R.D, who works with endurance athletes. Stick to cereals with fewer than 2 g of fiber per serving, like Special K or Rice Krispies.
The natural sugars in these little gems are a concentrated source of quick carbohydrates, says Dowell. They are also packed with potassium, which aids muscle function. Two dates contain 10 percent of your daily needs, the same as a small banana.
Dried fruit can have up to three times the calories of fresh, so stick to a quarter cup serving. Don’t like dates? Try dried apricots, mangoes, cherries, or, Dowell’s favorite, blueberry-flavored dried cranberries.
Running in 60 to 90 Minutes
Hummus and Carrots
This protein-and-carb combination will help keep you satisfied during long runs. The sodium in hummus will make you thirsty for a few extra sips of H20. Carrots are rich in beta carotene, and according to a study review published in 2010 in the journal Nutrients, eating carotenoid-packed fruits and vegetables may help defend skin against sun damage. Good news for midday runners.
A good source of whole grains, “oatmeal is great for longer runs because it sticks to your ribs without feeling heavy,” Dowell says. The instant variety is convenient, plus one pack supplies 40 percent of your daily need for iron.
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