A proper nutrition plan a critical piece to the performance puzzle that can have a tremendous affect on your body composition, physiology, recovery, oxygen uptake and energy.
Endurance athletes shouldn't eat unlimited amounts of pastas, breads and other starchy grains. Fueling the muscles with adequate carbohydrates is important. However, it's more important to know what types of foods to consume in given week.
This depends on your lifestyle demands and activity levels during the week. The most important foods for endurance athletes are going to be dark, leafy green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, red leaf lettuce, spinach, and dark fruit like blueberries and blackberries due to their power-packed nutrient content.
These foods help our body more effectively transport oxygen to the working muscles and decrease inflammation. Once you start executing a healthy plan, nothing new needs to be added as your big race approaches.
Rest is often ignored and many endurance athletes suffer overuse injury or burnout due to their lack of rest and recovery.
As you train, build fitness and improve as a runner, you're constantly pushing the envelope to reach your individual goals.
In order to reap the benefits of your training, you must implement recovery strategies to allow the body to adapt to the training stimulus you have been putting on the body.
During training the body breaks down and micro tears occur in the muscles. Without proper recovery, you risk overuse injuries, burnout, lack of motivation, chronic pain, vitamin/nutrient deficiency or a decline in performance.
Recovery should be part of your training program. Make sure your program includes active recovery weeks, rest days, cold therapy after intense training sessions, soft tissue and flexibility work, light training days following hard training days, consistent sleep habits, proper nutritional principles (see above) and massage.