The top 3 nutrition questions all runners want answered!

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Fuelling your body for running: before, during and after training

There is no doubt that optimising what you put in your mouth will help with the performance from your legs and we are fortunate to welcome Bec Stone, B.H.Sc. (Nutritional Medicine) as a guest blogger to Register Now to answer some of your burning runner questions!

Bec comes to us with 20 years of involvement in sport (both as an athlete and practitioner), to get your nutrition on track over the season. Stayed tuned as Bec unpacks some of the most common questions she gets asked by runners during consultations...

1. One of the most high frequency questions - should I eat before training?

If you are used to it and you don’t feel too fatigued in your training session, it is OK to train on an empty stomach first thing in the morning as long as the session is 1 hour or less.

If the session is longer then 1 hour or you just cannot cope without something to break your fast you need to aim to have this snack 25-30 minutes before training to reduce any digestive issues.

Think simple - a banana, slice of sourdough toast with natural spread, protein ball, a handful of dates etc.

Afternoon training sessions - having a small snack about 45-60 minutes before all afternoon sessions will really help improve your performance and energy levels.

Again, simple power packed snacks such as sourdough toast, with avo and a sprinkle of goat’s cheese, a piece of fruit and small handful of raw nuts or brown rice crackers with hummus.

2. Should I be refuelling during a run?

For sessions 60 minutes or less, there is really no need to refuel, if appropriate and available, sipping on water throughout the session is always a good option.

For sessions lasting 60 minutes or longer you need to refuel and hydrate, whether you carry water with you or plan your route out so you pass a few water fountains along the way, sipping on water through out these sessions is a must.

For your long runs you need to start refuelling at the 60-minute mark, and then again every 30 minutes while you are still exercising – try any of the below:

  • Energy gels, blocks or chews
  • 1-2 dates
  • ½ a banana

And yes, with so many gels on the market it can get overwhelming, these are my top 3:

  1. Endura Energy Gels
  2. Clif Bloks
  3. Pure Sports Nutrition Gels
3. What, why and when should I eat post a run?

You really need to refuel within 20-30 mins of any training session regardless of its length or intensity. Your focus should be on carbohydrate and protein for optimal recovery, as well as rehydrating with water (and electrolytes after longer runs).

Protein

  • Protein repairs and rebuilds new muscles as well as supports the immune system after a hard training session

Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates help replace used glycogen in the muscles (glycogen is your energy stores) and believe me you will need these stores for your next run!
  • Carbs are also important in helping protein get to where it needs to be - without carbs, protein cannot complete its job entirely

Hydration

  • After any run, make sure you are sipping on water straight away, and then throughout the rest of the day
  • Electrolyte drinks are generally not necessary unless you have been running for 60mins or more
  • Easy and natural hydration options to go for are: coconut water or pure watermelon juice, Isowhey Sports Electrolyte Formula, Endura Electrolyte Formula or Pure Sports Nutrition Electrolyte Formula.

Some ideas of things to consume would be: a nutrient packed smoothie, scrambled eggs on sourdough, muesli and milk with fruits, natural yoghurt with trail mix, baked sweet potato and so on... If you want some actual recipes, let us know in the comments below!

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Bec is on Facebook too, click here to follow her!