I hope your running experience is going well. By now you're probably playing around with food and whether it helps or hinders your running. In my own experience I have found that I run best in the morning on an empty stomach. If you're running on a regular basis you might be more hungry than usual. Making good food choices are crucial to nurture your body and help you run more efficiently. So for starters:
- Eat a mostly plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Choose healthy fats like olive oil and avocado
- Eat red meat and foods high in unhealthy fats sparingly or not at all
- Choose good carbs not refined carbs (whole grains is your friend)
- Choose nuts, beans, quality protein powders (hemp and rice are good choices), fish and poultry as protein choices
- Eat a fibre-filled diet, rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruit
- Calcium is important but milk isn't the only or best choice. Try to keep your body in balance (milk is acidic). Good calcium sources are almonds, greens (such as kale), tofu and broccoli.
It's best to eat an hour before a run. A good snack is easily digested and will settle in your body comfortably such as yogurt, apple slices with a nut butter, banana with about 10 almonds, etc. If you have a troublesome stomach then experiment with liquid snacks such as a good smoothie.
Drinking enough water is important. Start your day by drinking two glasses of water before you put anything else in your body. Squirting lemon or lime in your water makes it more refreshing and so is cucumber or orange slices if drinking plain water is difficult for you. When running it's a good idea to bring some water with you, especially if it's hot and/or you're going for a longer run. Remember to drink water during your runs on cold days too. Try to stay well hydrated during the day.
Recovery Snacks and Fluids
It's best to consume carbohydrate-rich foods and fluids within 15 - 30 minutes after your run. Some protein may help glycogen replacement and enhance the process of building and repairing of muscles. Good post-workout snacks include:
- fruit and yogurt smoothie
- whole grain bagel with peanut butter
- chocolate milk
Always remember to watch your portions and keep track of how you feel during a run and adjust your food choices accordingly.
A drink that I love to gulp on a hot day after a run is 1 teaspoon of quality dried wheatgrass with about 1 cup of water. It makes my cells sing.