This article was published on March 18th, 2013
Nutrition is an important element for long distance running. Eating the right foods will fuel your body, giving it the energy you need to go the full distance. Understanding what foods to eat, and when, is critical.
Carbohydrates, a sin word for some, are one of the most important energy sources for muscles.
“The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, in your liver and muscles,” explains Running Room founder and CEO, John Stanton. “A small amount is stored in the form of glucose in the blood.”
Carbohydrates help to avoid depleting muscles of glycogen. It’s important to eat carbohydrates, after a long run or race. This is why many post-races serve bagels in the finishers’ nutrition area.
While carbohydrates should be the main part of the meal, making up 55-65%, protein should be up 10-15%. Turkey or chicken are good sources of high-protein. Fats should be less than 30% of total intake – and less than 10% on the day before a race or long run.
“Try to incorporate foods that are high in iron including red meats, dark green vegetables, breads and cereals to help keep the body full of nutrients and vitamins,” suggested John Stanton.
If you are traveling or eating out the day before a race or long run, avoid deep fried foods and high-fat meals. There is very little energy and this will easily hamper your race performance.
Variety is the key to eating healthy, and moderation is important. The Canada Food Guide is a good source for health eating.