Nutrition for Runners

Nutrition plays a BIG part in how you will perform in any sport not just running.


The benefits of having your nutrition on point and nailed down -

  • allowing you to perform better

  • reducing the risk of injury and illness

  • ensuring the best recovery


The main energy source is carbohydrates so it's super important to make sure you're hitting your carb intake. It's ok taking on a pre-workout snack before your session but if you have fueled well thought the last 12 hours it's not going to do the job. That snack won't be the main energy source you'll utilize during that workout. A pre-workout snack can have a big impact on how you feel, topping up your energy levels can make you feel great, strong, and ready to smash the session in hand. BUT eat the wrong snack and it can have the opposite effect leaving you feeling sluggish, bloated and you feel as if you are carrying an extra ton in your gut!

What to eat and when:

You want to eat a large meal 2-4 hours before the session so it has time to settle and digest, then an hour before then that the time you start snacking, the closer you get to the session/race the smaller the meals /snacks get.


Examples - Large Lunch Meals

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/baked-sweet-potatoes-beans

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/green-club-sandwich

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mediterranean-prawn-salad


Examples - Small Snacks

A slice of banana bread and juice

Bagel and banana with peanut butter

An energy gel and drink - https://www.mountainfuel.co.uk/shop/energyrecovery/sports-jelly/

An energy bar - https://www.mountainfuel.co.uk/shop/featured/feelgoodbar/


I personally use Mountain Fuel they work for me, check out the fuelling system by using their products. Links above to some snacks.


NOW, if you're an early morning runner then you may not feel like eating all that much so grab a snack or a coffee and get out, generally, in the morning my runs are low intensity so don't require much fueling for, if you are having a quality session then you may need something a more substantial: I've made some Mountain Fuel pancakes, you can try some granola/porridge or a bagel toasted and jam and peanut butter.


During training session or races:

So, what do you need during your training runs or racing If you are training for a half/full marathon, ultra-marathon then as part of your training you should be training your gut, seeing what nutrition is going to work for you and what's not.


You want to be consuming from around 30-60g of carbs per hour, don't wait until your hungry as a cue on when to eat or you're going to be playing catch up or bonk, you want to start your fueling strategy before and stay on top of it! Practice during your training.


If you are just heading out for sub 1 hour then you really shouldn't need to fuel on the move. Focus on making sure your pre-workout fueling is on point.


Post-Run Nutrition:

Get those carbs ready but don't forget the protein, both essential for your recovery. Carbs, as we know, are your energy source so its super important to replace them certainly after a tough run.


Protein, Protein is so important for the growth and repair of muscle tissue and after hard training. Start with the post-training snack, a favorite of mine is chocolate milk within 30-45 minutes then you want to get a meal sometime after that.


Food and nutrition strategies are going to be different for everyone, use your training not just to get the miles in but it should include fueling as well. I don't promote any form of diet, with me it's all about a balanced plate, enjoying food and not cooking food types out!!


Please use this information as a guideline and trail different strategies to see what works and doesn't work for you. I'm not a nutritionist so if you have any concerns with food then its best to speak with a dietitian or a specialist nutritionist.


(recipes are from the good food website)


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