Eating well during the periods when you are training or running competitively... is part of your success in running. Your diet is just as much a part of your running lifestyle as training and sleeping. Here are 10 "running" diet tips to get started on the right track.
1. Eat your meals at regular times
This ensures you provide your body with a regular energy intake. It can thus better adapt and manage digestion of food.
2. Eat breakfasts
There are too many sportsmen that don't eat at breakfast. Carbohydrate and protein intake at breakfast is key to how the day unfolds. If the amounts are insufficient, then vigilance, attention and concentration will partly suffer due to hypoglycaemia. This especially manifests itself if the time between breakfast and lunch is too long or if you train at midday. The quality of the training session will be affected, as will the recovery after the session is over. The next meals will not compensate the deficiencies caused by not having breakfast.
3. Having a varied and balanced diet
A varied diet covers virtually all your needs in vitamins and minerals. A diet serves to sustain good health and also to optimise the runner's physiological potential.
4. Drink before and after run
Drinking regularly is the best way to prevent dehydration. You must hydrate before, during and after running training or races. Good hydration ensures better recovery. The consequences of dehydration are: a loss of performance, muscles problems, indigestion…Water is the only drink you essentially need for proper hydration during your running activities. However, when running for more than an hour, energy drinks can provide a real boost.
5. Providing your muscles with real energy at each meal
Running depletes energy levels and therefore requires that your regularly replenish them. Foods providing energy are starch foods, which are high in complex carbohydrates. For maximum effectiveness, spread your intake throughout the day, in other words at each meal.
6. Do not forget fruits and vegetables
They are low in carbohydrates but cover nutritional needs in vitamins and minerals, which will have a direct impact on how well your digest foods. They are also high in fibre, making intestinal transit easier.
7. Eating before exercise
The meal before running or racing will affect performance of the latter. Insufficient intake of food could lead to hypoglycaemia. Conversely eating too much will induce digestive problems. You must therefore opt to have an easily digestible full meal.
8. Eating during exercise
Hydration and eating during running are key factors to avoid dehydration and loss of energy leading to poor performance on your outings.There are three recognized essential factors: Water for hydration, sodium for compensating losses from sweat and carbohydrates for compensating energy loss.
9. Do not forget recovery after running
Once the race or training session is finished, runners tend to forget about recovery. Even so, after exercise, the body needs to recover its balance. You must therefore be vigilant and compensate all fluid and electrolyte losses and renew energy reserves that are so precious for running training again the next day.
10. Beware of alcohol
Alcohol is not recommended for runners. The calorie intake of the former (7 kcal / g of alcohol) is not used in muscle exercise. Alcohol reduces the physical potential and increases toxins the body will have to eliminate. Moreover it speeds up dehydration and modifies the body's perspiration management. Please note that alcohol is considered as a doping agent by certain federations.