Running Nutrition

I am an avid runner and it has taken multiple experiments to figure out how to fuel my body properly.

Biggest lesson when it comes to nutrition and running is that Food = Fuel.

Read that again: Food = Fuel.

I used to think that as my mileage increased, I could just eat whatever I wanted. However, not true! You cannot out-run the fork… bummer, right?

When I am in training mode, I always look at what I am putting in my body and how it is going to assist in my next workout or my recovery process. And yes, as a runner one of the perks is that you can consume more calories than someone with a sedentary lifestyle… just don’t overdo it. After running a 20-miler on a training run, I have a choice – load up on pizza and cookies or have a wholesome meal consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fat. If I choose the pizza and cookies, my muscles will be paying for it.

The sugar found in foods like pizza and sweets is very inflammatory, causing muscle recovery to slow down which will make me sore for at least an extra day.

Muscles have two primary sources of fuel: sugar and fat. Both can come from the food we eat or from the storage (glycogen) in our bodies. I have studied nutrition, however, fueling a runner or athlete is a whole new category. After much trial and error, I believe that fueling with real food is the best for stamina and recovery. Best lesson learned is to not overdo it post run to avoid weight gain. Also, make sure to fuel up properly the day of, and weeks before.

As with any recommendation, remember to take into account bio-individuality. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to diet. Always try out new ways of eating and cooking to see what works for your body!

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