Still, with all due respect to carbohydrates, Carmichael notes that protein is more important than once thought for distance runners because of the role it plays in helping to transport carbohydrates throughout your system. Protein is particularly crucial during your postworkout meal.
"Recent evidence shows that adding protein to your high-carbohydrate postworkout meal enables the carbs to move more quickly into the muscles for faster refueling," he says. Carmichael advises a ratio of about one part protein to seven parts carbohydrate, although it's more important simply to strive for a protein-carbohydrate combination than it is to achieve that specific ratio. A post-run meal of rice and chicken (heavier on the rice than the chicken) will get you what you need for a speedy recovery.
But good nutrition isn't about eliminating one type of food or nutrient in exchange for another. All foods have a place on Carmichael's table. It's just a matter of choosing the right foods, in the right proportions, at the right times, to yield the energy you need to run and live at an optimal level. His nutritional strategy even leaves room for indulgences, in moderation. Carmichael himself admits to bimonthly Ben & Jerry's binges. And Armstrong? It's said he goes for apple fritters whenever he can get his hands on them. Good luck finding those in France.
Periodization For IdiotsHow do you apply the principles of periodization to your diet without complex nutrient calculations? Remember that the concept of eating more carbs during your heaviest training is more important than trying to adhere to specific numbers.
But when you're upping the miles, adding just one of these mini meals per day gives you the extra carbs you need to keep running strong.
1 cup vanilla yogurt + 1 cup fresh fruit (60 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: provides over 40 percent of your daily calcium needs
1 cup orange juice + 1 banana (52 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: packs almost 200 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C
1 slice banana nut bread + 1 cup skim milk (about 45 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: gives you 25 percent of the Daily Value for calcium
1 PowerBar energy bar + 8 oz PowerBar Endurance sports drink (62 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: provides plenty of sodium and potassium to keep you well hydrated
Smoothie of 2 cups skim or soy milk + 1 1/2 cups strawberries + 2 Tbsp soy
protein (about 50 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: contributes about 5 grams of fiber
1 1/2 cups multigrain cereal + 1 1/2 cups skim milk (54 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: contains over 100 percent of the Daily Value for iron
1 bagel + 1 banana + 1 Tbsp nut butter (about 75 grams carbs)
Bonus Benefit: provides 12 grams of protein