Nutrition is a vital requirement for your body to perform its best and recover as fast as possible. Most runners focus more on rehydrating their body, forgetting the significant impact that nutrition has, after all Nutrition is fuel.
According to my research, whatever you consume before, during, and after your training or workout routine makes has a significant impact on your body towards achieving your goals.
An average person is recommended to take between 2,000 – 3,000 calories per day. And as a runner, you need to consume more calories to replace the ones your burnt off – ultimately to achieve optimal health and performance.
What is the Best Nutrition?
Think of your body as a car, and carbohydrate is its gas. There are myths behind carbohydrates that make a person fat; when really carbohydrates are not used effectively. As energy providers most sedentary people will consume carbs but not burn it, so the body stores it away. However as a runner, you subject your body to intense training that requires such energising carbohydrates, so eat eat eat!
Us runners require about 3 – 5 grams/pound of body weight or an estimated 60% total diet from carbohydrates to fuel endurance during training.
I would recommend taking cereal with milk or oatmeal for breakfast. During long runs, take candy or chomps and refuel with a mixture of carbohydrates and Protein after training as this will help you recover while you wait for your next session.
What is The Scientific Approach to Carbohydrates?
Any training session that goes beyond one and half hours (90 minutes) results in your body draining the stored carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Consuming any carbohydrates within a run will help a runner spare enough glycogen, keeping the blood glucose from dropping. This will replenish glycogen stores before your next training session.
When you run, your muscles get some micro-tears that needs to repair during recovery. Protein is used to optimize this recovery and enhance your performance level each time. However, protein consumption can not be all in a meal.
It would be best if you tried moderating the portion of protein intake. Remember that consuming over 30g of Protein at once will not help you replenish your muscles. Many runners consume a large amount of Protein through meat unknowingly.
How does this happen? A 4oz piece of chicken breast will get you 26g of Protein which is very close to the limit your body can handle in one meal. If you combine this with milk or rice, you will quickly exceed 30g.
I would advise taking more proteins in the morning during breakfast. If you happen to be planning on having an intense workout, then have a mid-morning protein snack ranging between 20-30g.
What are some examples of Protein to use?
What are some Common Supplements?
Creatine and Protein powder are some of the commonly used supplements.
- Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that helps supply energy to the cells throughout the body.
It is formed of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. It makes up about 1% of the total volume of human blood. Approximately 95% of Creatine is stored in skeleton muscle and 5%in the brain.
- Around 2% of the body’s Creatine stored is converted daily by the liver, kidneys and pancreas. The blood then transports it to body parts for use.
Roughly 1-3g of Creatine is needed in a day, half of that coming from the diet while the body synthesizes the rest. This meal includes red meat and fish.
- Runners use Creatine to supply energy to parts of the body. It is believed to increases a runners power, training harder, and improving overall performance. It is usually used to assist during intense running workout sessions, so take between 5 -10g of Creatine a day.
What are The Uses of Creatine?
- Improving your Performance
- Repairs Damage after Injury
Creatine is effective in high-intensity training.
It increases endurance and general performance.
It improves your strength, power and your daily performance.
Creatine supplements help to enhance the muscles recovery process and also prevent future damages.
It has an antioxidant effect after having intense work out session and helps reduce cramping. It also plays a role in brain rehabilitation.
Is Creatine Dangerous?
Creatine is a natural substance. Any male weighing about 70kg has around 120-140g of Creatine naturally in store (yet this amount varies between individuals depending on muscle mass and muscle fibre type).
Here are some of the conditions linked to Creatine deficiency:
- Muscle Atrophy
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Taking any supplement in high doses is risky. Creatine taken in high doses can affect the liver, kidney, or heart, and not for the better; Some Other effects include Stomach ache, nausea, muscle cramping and diarrhoea. So always best to check with your doctor before taking supplements.
Note* Do not use creatine supplement if you are diagnosed with kidney disease. Take caution if you have diabetes. And avoid Creatine if you are a woman.
Beta-alanine is also an amino acid used by runners as a supplement. It helps conserve the muscles’ energy. The leading cause of body fatigue is intramuscular acidosis. Your body produces ATP using glycolytic and phosphagen systems; the result is metabolic byproducts like excess hydrogen ions. If these ions are not cleared fast enough, they bind with pyruvate to produce lactic acid. A high level of this acid affects your performance, coordination and skill.
This supplement increases muscle carnosine content, eliciting improvements in high-intensity runners.
Beta-alanine generally boosts a runner’s performance by increasing their endurance level.
Just a note to end on, If you opt to get some supplements for your training, ensure that you get them from trusted sources where they are thoroughly tested to be safe.
Research and keep track of your body. In case of any alarming symptoms, reach out to your doctor within the shortest time possible.