Food is so much more than just something you need to do to survive, especially if you’re a runner. For runners, food is the fuel that allows them to run further and faster, so what you eat before and after your runs is crucial for your performance. In any case, if you’re just getting into running, you’ll need to change the way you eat and here’s how.
Learn how to fight hunger
The first thing you need to do is learn about “runner” or runner’s hunger. If you just started running, don’t be surprised if you feel so much hungrier than before you started your new fitness regime. So, in order to prevent hunger from creeping in on you between miles, you’ll need to make some changes in your diet. First of all, carbs might be crucial for fast running, but the protein will keep your blood sugar in line and keep you feeling full for longer. In case you’re not eating meat, check out websites like RunnerClick which contain great tips about the vegetarian diet and running. You also need to ensure you’re eating enough throughout the day.
Start eating more
If you’re training for long-distance runs like marathons, you’ll be burning so much more calories than before and you’ll need to replace them. Use a practical calorie calculator to show you just how much you’re burning, but keep in mind that your number will depend on your gender, weight and the intensity of your runs.
Fill your fridge with real food
When we say “real food” we mean food that’s healthy and minimally processed and made with as few ingredients as possible. Just to get the idea, think meat, vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts and rice or quinoa. If you fill your fridge with real food, you’ll reduce the possibility of consuming junk. After some time, you’ll forget all about the unhealthy foods and start craving what’s good for your body and your runs.
Cut back on carbs and sugar
Carbs are crucial for those fast runs but don’t carbo-load like a total newbie. While consuming carbs and sugar before an important race is great for your performance, there’s no need to eat sugary foods and drinks every day. After a light 5 mile run, you really don’t need that huge Gatorade or that second plate of pasta. Sure, you know your body and the way it burns calories, but if you have some weight issues you’re trying to beat, you can’t eat too many carbs and sugar, even though you’re running every day.
Being a perfectionist won’t get you far in running. You’re a human and you need to indulge every now and then, especially if you had a super hard run. Your body will be craving more calories, so occasionally getting that pizza and coke or cheeseburger and fries might actually do you good. Remember that what you do most of the time is more important than what you do some of the time.
As you move forward with your runs, you’ll learn how to improve your form, boost your endurance but also how to eat better. Remember these tips, but don’t be scared to experiment with ingredients and timings so you can see what works best for your body.