The concept of nutrition for runners could be quite overwhelming when you are a beginner runner. A disciplined diet plan ensures success in the running journey. Knowing what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat are all the most pondered questions about runner’s food.
Knowing what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat are all the most pondered questions about runner’s food.
Since running is a high-intensity cardiovascular activity that burns over 300 calories, the diet you consume should be able to provide you with enough energy for the same. Keep reading this article to know which foods and food groups are the most important and how to incorporate them into your daily consumption.
A general breakdown of different food groups for runners are as explained below:
1. Carbohydrates: these are the major fuel for your run and help you keep the energy while the run. Pasta, bread, and potatoes are all common carbs foods.
2. Proteins: These food groups are responsible for providing muscle strength and aiding faster recovery. Eggs, lean protein, and lentils are the common protein foods.
3. Fiber, probiotics: for a stronger immunity these food groups are extremely crucial. Yogurt, grains, and fresh veggies are fiber-rich.
4. Minerals: these replenish the lost salts during the heavy run. Potassium is one of the most important minerals that need to replenish and is commonly found in bananas.
5. Antioxidants: these food groups help in healing the body faster after an explosive run. Berries, kale, veggies are the most common foods rich in antioxidants.
So here we list down the 10 best foods for the runner in you which will help you enhance your performance and aid in recovery and healing.
1. Fruity Bananas
The bananas are the most staple and convenient food option there is for runners. These are rich in carbohydrates with almost 35gms and 2g of protein. This easy-to-digest food is great to replenish the glycogen stores of your body. The presence of minerals like Potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium is sure to fuel your body for the entire run.
When to consume: Before, during, and even after a run
These nut food sources are excellent Vitamin E-stores. Vitamin E is proved to be very important in reducing the oxidative stress created by running. Since it’s full of antioxidants, muscle soreness and recovery are accelerated. You could try to have it 3-5 times per week.
When to consume: Before a run could be a great option. You could savor almond butter with bread before a run, could use the almonds crushed in salads, recommended in everyday diet.
3. Citrus fruits- Oranges
These Vitamin C-rich fruits are high sources of antioxidants and help relieve any muscle soreness caused as part of strenuous aerobic exercise like running. If you are someone who is not a huge fan of raw oranges, you could even try the juice form. Make sure to use the freshly squeezed ones over the store-bought ones. The higher amount of carbs, minerals like calcium, Potassium, magnesium help revive the body after the run.
When to consume: this drink or fruit is best consumed after a run, so that the body and salts are rejuvenated. Before the run consumption might lead to acid reflux and impair the running performance.
These are excellent sources of proteins, vitamins like A, C, and B along with Zinc. These help in nourishing the body and are easily digestible. The eggs also contain iron which could improve the red blood cells. The immune-boosting effect of eggs is a huge plus point. The option to procure omega 3 enhanced eggs would include anti-inflammatory properties.
When to consume: before or even after a run in the form of scrambles, sandwiches.
Protein is undoubtedly the most important part of the runner’s diet and the major source of it is chicken. Roasted chicken could be a great option as there is no additional fat or unwanted calories added on. The presence of minerals like selenium helps in recovering the oxidation caused by running.
When to consume: Before or after the run. Could be consumed in the form of stew, sandwiches, salads, curries.
This protein source is a great anti-inflammatory food that could be added to the staple diet of the runner. Salmon is rich in Omega 3 fats which are highly important to help with muscle soreness and muscle recovery. There are supplements available for you as everyday consumption might be an ordeal, but adding the food to the diet once in a while is a must-have for runners.
When to consume: before or after a workout, could be consumed as plain as possible like salads, curries.
7. Whole grains like bread
As discussed above, runners need a high amount of carbohydrates daily. Whole grains like bread, cereals, pasta could be added to the day-to-day diet so that the daily intake is always maintained. Be sure to add whole grains rather than refined carbs as they are low in the glycemic index.
When to consume: You could have carbs before a run like a whole-wheat toast, cereal, porridge with nuts for extra energy that will help you run better.
8. Sweet potatoes
These are another great source of carbohydrates. You could have them smashed, boiled, and added to other protein sources for further fulfilment. They are also huge reservoirs of Potassium and vitamin A which are great for immunity and boosting the recovery process.
When to consume: After a run preferably to nourish your tired body.
9. Skim milk or yogurt
These could be a great source of protein along with carbs in them. These aid in recovery and aid in muscle soreness at a faster rate. Research has mentioned that a perfect post-run recovery meal is one in which both proteins and carbs are included and this could be a great option for you.
When to consume: A great post-run snack and could be paired with a granola bar for that additional carbs hit.
This fresh leafy veggie could be a great food after a run. It is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties for further functionality. The kale helps in restoring all the minerals lost during the run. Is a great reservoir of calcium, phosphorus, and low-calorie snacks.
When to consume: After a run, could be baked as crisp or added to the salads.