Preparing for your next 5K isn't just about lacing up and logging miles. Set the stage for a personal record on race day by following a healthy diet throughout your training season. 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.
Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
This stuff trumps plain yogurt when it comes to protein content—it has, on average, 18 grams per six-ounce serving. Yogurt is high in calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12, all of which promote strong bones, optimal immune function and an increase in energy. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than its plain old-fashioned counterpart and it's lower in lactose, too. For an energy boost, try topping Greek yogurt with high-fiber cereals, or blend with fresh fruit for a refreshing nutrient-dense smoothie three to four hours before a run.
When it comes to fish, salmon is at the top of its class. Not only is it flavorful and filling, but it's also a high-quality protein and healthy fat source. Per ounce, salmon contains about 7 grams of protein, less than 1 gram of saturated fat and a hefty dose of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This fish means serious business. EPA and DHA play an important role as an anti-inflammatory agent; they promote fat as fuel during exercise, and may promote fat loss and muscle protein synthesis. As a runner, this means you can perform at your best for a longer period of time. You'll be less likely to hit a wall, and your body can use your fat stores as energy when your carb stores run out. Omega-3s EPA and DHA also contribute to a decrease in recovery time. That means that when you run on consecutive days, you won't feel as much fatigue.
Wild caught salmon is one of the best sources of health-promoting fats, and higher in protein and lower in overall fat compared to farm-raised. Farm-raised salmon also contains a higher amount of pro-inflammatory fats, called omega-6s. Athletes will benefit from 1.5 to 3 grams of omega-3s per day that can come from fish like salmon.