Nutrition for Running

CONSEQUENCES OF POOR NUTRITION

  • Weight loss
  • Strength loss
  • Lethargy
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Soreness, joint pain
  • Micronutrient Deficits
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Diminished Performance
  • “Overtraining Syndrome”

PERFORMANCE NUTRITION MEANS…

  • Fuelling to boost performance on a daily basis
  • Fuelling to decrease the risk of injuries, recover fully
    after workouts and stay healthy
  • Fuelling with foods that taste good, foods you enjoy,
    foods that can be prepared easily, and foods you feel
    confident eating

MACRO-NUTRIENTS

CARBOHYDRATES
  • These are the body’s key fuel source.
  • This is because they contain readily available glucose, which is the body’s quickest way of creating energy for movement.
  • Almost all foods contain carbohydrates in different forms.
  • Examples: fruit, pasta, bread, potatoes, rice, vegetables… not just grains!

CARBOHYDRATES FUEL MUSCLE

  • A muscle is like a sponge.
  • Keep muscles full of fuel.
  • Carbohydrates reach muscles quickly.
  • A substrate used to form Glycogen.
  • Glycogen is the PRIMARY energy source.

 

PROTEINS
  • The main function of proteins is to build and repair tissues such as skin and muscle.
  • This is achieved by Amino acids forming and to creating whole proteins, which form the base of all soft tissue in the body.
  • Examples: chicken, red meat, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, tofu.

 

FATS
  • This is the major source of energy when at rest or low-intensity exercise.
  • They serve mainly to protect cells within the body.
  • The breakdown of fats takes considerably longer.
  • They will be used as the primary energy source when carbohydrates are fully depleted.

FLUIDS & HYDRATION

COMPONENTS OF MUSCLE

HYDRATION

Components of Muscle

 

FLUIDS & HYDRATION
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Thermoregulation
  • Injury prevention
  • Performance
  • Recovery
  • Sweat losses during 2 hours of exercise can = 2 litres or more
IMPAIRED PERFORMANCE

95% of muscle cramps are due to dehydration

WHEN SHOULD YOU DRINK?
WHEN TO DRINK AMOUNT OF FLUID
2hrs before exercise 2-3 cups+
15 mins before 1-2 cups
Every 15 mins DURING 1-1.5 cups
AFTER Activity 1.5ltres of fluid for every 1kg lossed
KEY POINTS
  • Don’t rely on thirst. You’re already 1-2% dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty.
  • A 2% drop in body weight through sweat will produce a 20% drop in performance.
  • Drink before, during & after exercise.
  • Water is fine for before exercise.
  • Sports drinks are best within 1 hr of exercise.

EAT TO FUEL

PRE-EXERCISE FUEL

Pre-exercise fuel should:

  • Provide energy to working muscles
  • Maximize blood sugar and glycogen stores
  • Provide a psychological edge
  • Minimize hunger during activity
  • Maximize hydration
  • Be individualized
  • Meals: 3-4 hours before activity
  • Snacks: 1-2 hours before activity
  • The closer you are to training/competing, rely more on liquids and small snacks

 

 

 

FOODS SUITABLE 3-4 HOURS BEFORE EXERCISE

Any food that has a good serve of carbohydrates and protein, eg:

  • Eggs and bacon on wholemeal toast
  • Baked beans on wholemeal toast
  • Tuna, brown rice and greens
  • Porridge with banana
  • Fruit salad with natural yoghurt
FOODS SUITABLE 1-2 HOURS BEFORE EXERCISE
  • Fruit Smoothie
  • Banana
  • Natural Yoghurt
  • Muesli / Nut Bar

Foods suitable less than 1 hour before exercise:

  • Sports drink
  • Coconut water
  • Water
WHAT/WHEN SHOULD YOU EAT?

THIS IS A SAMPLE PLAN FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES

MEAL TIME FOOD
BREAKFAST 7.30AM Wholegrain toast with poached egg & avocado
MORNING SNACK 10.30AM Natural yogurt with berries
LUNCH 1PM Tuna, rice & bean salad
ARVO SNACK 4PM Fruit protein smoothie
GYM/RUN 6PM Water during
AFTER GYM 7PM Grilled chicken, sweet potato & green vegetables
REFUELING AFTER EXERCISE

VERY Important for Athletes, especially:

  • For those in multiple events in one day
  • For those training daily

WINDOW of OPPORTUNITY for Refuelling

  • First 30 minutes after exercise is critical
  • Glycogen repletion occurs faster after exercise
  • Increased blood flow to the muscle
  • Enzymes that produce glycogen are most active

Why pre-and post-activity nutrition is important

  • To help replenish energy stores
  • Increase muscle size and quality of muscle
  • Repair the muscle tissue damage caused by your workout
  • Improve your recovery
  • Lessen muscle soreness
  • Improve immune function
  • Improve your body’s ability to use up body fat
POINTS TO CONSIDER
  • Eating the right nutrients before you exercise can help you get lean, increase your work capacity and performance, and help you with recovery.
  • Eating a low-GI carb with protein at least 1 hour before your workout can dramatically help improve your body composition.
  • 2 hours pre-workout be sure to avoid anything too heavy like milk and avoid any sugary or processed foods as it will slow down your fat-burning markers throughout the workout.
  • Post workout carbs are essential. They should be high-GI and low sugar as you need to spike your insulin post-workout if you want to replace your glycogen stores.
  • If you’re looking to put fruit in your post-workout smoothie make sure it’s berries as they are low in fructose and won’t affect the spike in your insulin.

THE SCIENCE

CALORIES
  • A calorie is a measure of energy. There are other ways of measuring energy, but in relation to nutrition calories are most commonly used
  • A calorie is a measure of heat energy
  • Kilojoule is also a measure of food energy. A kilojoule is equal to one thousand joules.
  • One calorie equals 4.2 kilojoules.
  • All calories ARE NOT created equal! 300 calories of salmon are not equivalent to 300 calories of chocolate, therefore this method of measuring isn’t recommended for healthy athletes. There is no need for any fit and active person to be counting calories as a method of weight loss

 

 

 

SOURCES OF ENERGY IN FOOD
  • The caloric values of all carbohydrates are similar
  • The caloric values of all fats are similar
  • The caloric values of all proteins are similar
  • 1 gram of carbohydrate contains around 4.3 calories
  • 1 gram of fat contains around 9.45 calories
  • 1 gram of protein contains around 5.65 calories
  • 1 gram of alcohol contains around 7.0 calories
  • Just because a food is high in calories does not mean it is a good energy source for exercise or health. Foods are processed in different ways in the body, and this affects how efficiently they can be used for energy production.
DO ENDURANCE ATHLETES REQUIRE MORE PROTEIN?
  • Resistance exercise is thought to increase protein requirements even more than other types of exercise.
  • Endurance athletes in heavy training may require extra protein to cover a small proportion of the energy costs of their training and to assist in the repair and recovery process after exercise.
  • If the athlete does not first meet their energy needs, then the increased protein will simply be used for energy production and will do little in terms of muscle building.
  • Increasing protein intake to a level higher than the RDI is unlikely to result in any increases in lean tissue because there is a limit to the rate at which protein in tissues can be accrued.
GUIDELINES FOR RUNNERS
  • Runners will burn on average between 100-125 kcal per 1.6km. This means that the additional energy requirement for a long run can significant e.g. the additional energy requirement for running a marathon will be in the region of 2640- 3300 kcal.
  • High carbohydrate diets are usually required to provide the energy required to meet the energy cost of training, and it’s recommended that carbohydrates make up around 60-65% of a distance runner’s daily energy requirements.
  • People who run daily will need a higher carbohydrate diet to replace muscle glycogen. Carbohydrates with a high GI may help replenish used muscle glycogen quickly if eaten immediately after exercise and every 2 hours after that.
  • High carbohydrate foods consumed within 30 minutes of exercise is one of the best times to restore or top up glycogen levels. Muscle glycogen stores however after aerobic exercise takes up to 72 hours to completely restore and is affected largely by diet.
  • As energy requirements increase, athletes should aim to consume the maximum number of servings of carbohydrates whilst still meeting all their other dietary requirements.
CARBOHYDRATE LOADING
  • Your body can only store enough fuel to sustain around 90 minutes of exercise. Beyond this, without sufficient fuel, energy levels drop and fatigue sets in.
  • For distance runners, the moment when they have exhausted their body’s existing supply of glycogen comes somewhere between the half and full marathon mark.
  • Carbohydrate loading should take place over the 2-3 days leading up to race day.
  • Male require 7-10g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight each day that they are loading.
  • Females require 5-8g of carbohydrate per kilogram body weight each day that they are loading.
  • Remember that carb loading is a specific plan to meet performance goals and does not represent healthy eating for daily life and training!
LOW CARB VS HIGH FAT DIETS
  • The LCHF approach is when you adapt to a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrate over the course of many weeks, your body adapts and will become better at oxidizing fat.
  • After six weeks of being on a high-fat diet, the body switches to burning fatty ketones, instead of the sugars in carbohydrates. The larger supply of fuel means it’s possible to cover the full marathon distance or even an ultra run, without running out of energy.
  • Your body can only store enough fuel to sustain around 90 minutes of exercise. Beyond this, without sufficient fuel, energy levels drop and fatigue sets in. That’s where the LCHF approach is applied primarily in the area of endurance athletes, or any event over 2 hours in length.
  • Is this the right approach for you? Essentially, the actual answer may come down to your own individual genetics and your age. Athletes need to test for themselves, as everybody is different and responds differently.
SUPPLAMENTS
  • There are two basic types of sports supplements – dietary/sports supplements and nutritional ergogenic aids.
  • Dietary supplements can be a valuable way to complement a balanced nutritional program. Many of these supplements will contain nutrients at about the RDI level or the amount found in normal food.
  • They are a quick, convenient way for an athlete to gain nutrition. For example, if an athlete does not have time to eat a full meal prior to a training session, then a sports bar may be a convenient way to give the athlete the carbohydrates and nutrients they require.
  • Dietary supplements will generally be more expensive than equivalent amounts of everyday food.
  • Examples are sports drinks, sports gels, protein bars, protein powders.
  • It's important to remember that even supplements with scientific support are reported to enhance performance only for certain athletes in certain situations and, like everything surrounding nutrition, there is no one size fits all approach.
ERGOGENIC AIDS
  • Ergogenic aids aim to have some performance enhancing effect.
  • These kinds of aids often contain higher amounts of certain nutrients than the RDI.
  • Some examples of nutritional ergogenic aids with scientific support for enhanced performance are:
  • Creatine
  • Caffeine
  • Bicarbonate
  • ATP
  • Glycerol
  • Antioxidant vitamins
  • Glutamine
  • Amino acids (including BCAA)

RECIPES FOR RUNNING

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