Nutrition for Runners

By September 3, 2021Overall Wellness

We all know that good nutrition is key to overall wellness.

When it comes to preparing for race day, a solid training plan will improve your running performance & enable you to better meet the metabolic demands of long distance competition! But physical training isn’t enough. You also need to focus on proper fueling (a.k.a. nutrition) throughout your preparation process. Maximize your training & avoid the dreaded “wall” on race day with these tips to enhance your body’s ability to stay the course.

  1. Be light off the line.
    Running performance is just as dependent on body composition as it is on aerobic capacity or running economy (how much fuel is needed).Your optimal racing weight is likely near the bottom end of your “healthy” weight range because extra body fat is weight that increases the energy output needed. When training for a race, fuel with high-quality foods to reach the starting line lighter.
  2. Hydrate mindfully.
    Full rehydration increases performance by aiding your body’s ability to regulate its core temperature. But drinking a calculated, specific amount of during a marathon is difficult. Who knows how many ounces will be in that next cup? Luckily, you don’t have to drink according to any mathematical formula. Listen to your body to take on only as much as you need.
  3. Calculate carbs accordingly.
    Pre-race “carb-loading” was born of outdated 1960’s research and has since been in question. Current research suggests that a low-carb, fat-burning state spares muscle glycogen, thereby pushing back “the wall” on race day. However, it can also be argued that runners aren’t able to train as hard on a low-carb diet because it produces low glycogen stores. Regardless of your approach, the amount of carbohydrate you need is tied to the amount of training you do. As a baseline: with 30-45minutes of daily training, you need 3-4 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram(approx. 2.2 lbs) of body weight.
  4. Boost with beet juice.
    To boost hydration, while also increasing blood flow to muscles during the race – via increased dietary nitrates that help blood vessels dilate – try beet juice. Mix in a serving of beet juice two to three hours before hitting the pavement to enhance performance. Just be sure to give it a couple of practice runs to see if it works for you.
  5. Burn fat better.
    Sports drinks limit dehydration while supplying your muscles with extra energy, but they aren’t something to take on every run. Studies show that sports drinks have no effect on performance in shorter, rigorous runs or easier runs less than 90 minutes. Plus the carbs in sports drinks limit beneficial fitness gains that occur in training. Relying too heavily on sports drinks may make you less fit.

Ready to add practical nutrition advice to your wellness routine? Seek advisement with our specialists, and let us guide you with the most effective practices for your unique needs! We offer a wellness-focused & supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals. Be sure to check our social media and blog updates for regular wellness inspiration, information, offers and support.

The Back 2 Normal blog is an educational resource written by Back 2 Normal employees and professional associates. Back 2 Normal bloggers are professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.