Nutrition for Runners Made Easy
Stock Your Kitchen With Super Foods
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From crazy fad diets to carbo-loading, it's easy to see why there are many misconceptions about the best fuel for your body before a day of incredible exertion. There are certain foods that should be on your weekly grocery list, as well as fueling foods for your body on a daily basis.
Create a Food Plan for Race Training and Race Day
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The night before your race, you mowed through a super-sized bowl of pasta and slammed a gallon of water in an effort to catch up on your hydration plan. Now, your feet are heavy, your stomach is churning and that finish line feels out of reach. Don't let poor food choices hurt your performance on race day. Follow this food plan to prepare for your best performance yet.
Eat The Morning of Your Race...
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The main purpose of the pre-race meal is to fill your liver with glycogen, especially if it precedes a morning race. Liver glycogen fuels your nervous system while you sleep, and as a result, your liver is roughly 50 percent glycogen-depleted when you wake up in the morning. Your muscles, inactive during the night, remain fully glycogen loaded from the previous day.
...But Avoid These Mistakes
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"How you fuel up before the race has a huge impact on your performance," says Beth Jauquet, R.D., a nutritionist for Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver. Unfortunately, runners tend toward extremes: Skimping on fuel, overdoing food or drink, or eating foods that cause digestive disaster.
Reduce Race-Day Anxiety
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You know that feeling: shaky legs, butterfly stomach, jittery mind. It's race day and you've got a bad case of anxiety like so many other athletes do. However, what you eat—processed fats, for example—and how you eat it—too close to the start time—can make all the difference in how you feel.
Fuel for a 5K
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To avoid low energy, fill up on high-carb meals and drinks one to four hours before and after training. Not sure what foods are best? Here are 10 foods to fuel your next 5K.
Fuel for a 10K
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While you should focus on eating as you normally do, it's important to get a few extra carbs the night before. Hua recommends filling one third to one half of your plate with complex carbs, such as pasta, brown rice or grains. Learn about the other important components.
Fuel for a Marathon
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Nutrition can have a substantial impact on muscle tone and enable you to get the most out of your upcoming marathon.
Reduce Post-Run Inflammation
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Before you grab the usual recovery foods and drinks, stop and think about what you're putting into your body. You might be eating or drinking products that foster—not fight—inflammation. If you are looking for foods that help you recover, try these anti-inflammatory options after training.
Ditch Commercial Products—Make Your Own
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Mass-produced sports drinks, gels, beans and blocks, and protein-rich recovery bars are ideal for providing quick, portable and reliable energy. However, you'll pay a premium for the convenience, and you have no control over the quality of the ingredients used. Make your own instead.