While the physical training involved in a run is imperative many people overlook the added benefits of eating the right macro and micronutrients. Here are some tips to keep in mind, even if your next run is not a marathon.
- Eat a variety of different coloured vegetables to ensure adequate antioxidant intake. These contain antioxidants which fight free radical cellular damage brought about by exercise induced oxidative stress.
- Hydration is extremely important. Use the weigh and reweigh technique pre and post training to gauge how much fluid you lose through sweat loss. Use this as a guide to help you stay hydrated during your runs.
- Try to consume carbohydrates within an hour of training to replace lost muscle glycogen. Protein within this window is also vital to help provide muscles with essential amino acids for repair. Opt for low GI protein containing grains such as brown rice, quinoa, multigrain bread and wholemeal pasta. Milk and yoghurt are great snack options containing protein, low GI carbohydrate and calcium which is involved in muscle contraction.
- On Race day, stick to the basics. Practice the meal/snacks you will consume before and during a long distance event. Avoid high fibre options as these may affect your GI system. Have your meal 2 hours before the event and a high GI carbohydrate snack 1 hour prior.
- During the race gels and sports drinks can be used during the event to top up muscle glycogen stores. After you’ve finished aim to refuel within 30 minutes and then follow with a meal containing carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats.
The food you consume during training, on race day and for recovery will all impact on how you perform and improve. Good Luck!
Edwina McDonald practices at 120 Collins and Docklands in Melbourne