When it comes to nutrition for longer distance runs and races, it’s important to experiment with different types of fuel to learn what works for you. This will vary from runner to runner, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind.
I prefer sticking with whole foods and less packaged items to fuel and recover with the most nutritional benefits.
Ideally for pre-workout, you would want to avoid high fat and fiber options. They can be harder to digest, and eating too much may leave you feeling sluggish. Fresh fruit and whole grain toast or crackers are easy to digest carbohydrate options. If workout lasts more than one hour, adding in a few items that are higher in protein (such as nut butter, hummus, turkey) should help tide you over.
I like to eat a carbohydrate-dense snack at least 30-60 minutes before the run.
- Apple slices with nut butter
- A few dried dates or dried figs
- Slice toast, half a medium banana and one tablespoon of nut butter
- Half cup oatmeal with fruit
- Greek yogurt with granola and fruit (great for post-workout too)
To help replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle repair it’s important to get a small meal or snack within an hour of finishing a hard workout. Aim for about 250 calories. But remember, these aren’t “bonus” calories. They should be planned as part of your daily caloric intake.
I like to refuel with a meal or snack that contains both complex carbohydrates and protein.
- Smoothie made with frozen fruit, nut butter and a protein powder of choice (or yogurt)
- Scrambled whole eggs with sautéed vegetables
- Turkey and vegetables on a whole wheat wrap
- Salmon with sweet potatoes and vegetables