Long distance running requires a great deal of commitment, motivation, and determination. This needs to be applied to both training and competition and in order to compete and train at your best, you need to make sure that you are fully fuelled for the ride.
Nutrition needs to play an integral part in your training schedule and on race day itself. Below are 5 top nutrition tips that any long distance runner needs to be aware of. See also our pages: A to Z of the best foods for runners and Why Vegan Athletes Keep Winning.
1. Make Sure You ‘Carb-load’
Carb loading is an important part of any pre-race or pre-training run schedule. If you are able to maximise your muscle glycogen storage you’ll give yourself more energy for the run. This will help to make sure that you don’t end up running out of fuel before the finish line.
2. Pay Attention To Fluids
The most important nutrient that the human body needs in water. On average we need about 2 litres per day, but this value is increased dramatically the more exercise you perform.
Losing only 2% of bodyweight from water loss can lead to impaired physical performance so make sure that you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your run.
3. Make Sure You Plan Your Fibre Intake
Fibre is really important to our diets, particularly in aiding digestion, but it can also cause stomach problems as well. Many fruits, vegetables, and foods high in cereal grains contain high fibre content, and this can bind up our digestive systems during exercise and make things very uncomfortable. Avoid such foods the evening and morning before your run and you should be fine.
4. Re-fuel On The Run
Depending on the length of your run it may be important for you to re-fuel as you go. When you exercise for longer than 60 minutes you should aim to get between 30 and 60 grams of carbs every hour.
This is important in helping to replenish your energy stores so that you can continue to exercise effectively. Carb re-fueling can be accomplished using a range of products such as gels, sports bars, and sports drinks.
5. Get Plenty Of Protein
Protein is an essential macro-nutrient for growth and repair. When you are running regularly then you will suffer muscle damage and protein is crucial in helping your muscles recover and then grow back stronger and leaner.
Endurance athletes commonly eat between 1.2 kgs and 1.4 kgs of protein per day from lean sources such as meats, fish, and eggs.
Aside from these points it is also important for you to make sure that you prepare for different weather conditions. Remember that you will sweat to regulate your body temperate, and the hotter it is the more you’ll sweat.
As a consequence of this your water needs will increase. At the same time, colder weather can lower your core temperature, meaning that you’ll need to eat more calories to keep warm.
Getting the right nutrition for long distance running is essential in maintaining performance. Make sure that you plan and keep a log of your progress, making any changes that you need to as you begin to understand your body and its nutritional needs more.
This post was provided by Sealskinz, a retailer of outdoor thermal gear and waterproof running gloves.
Photo by James Dennes / Creative Commons.