An Introduction to Nutrition for Runners

Nutrition for runners is just as important as your day to day training. What you eat is always important for good health, but as a runner you need to make sure that you are providing your body with the nutrition that gives you the fuel your body needs. A healthy diet is a good for anyone, and healthy eating is healthy eating whether you are a runner or not. But a runner needs to eat a diet that is high in energy-giving foods, such as carbohydrates, the right kinds of fats, protein and the right kinds of beverages, such as water and sport’s drinks. 


Carbohydrates are a very important part of your runner’s diet. If you are in races, you want to load up on your carbohydrates a few hours before a race. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy. Some great sources of carbohydrates for a runner are pasta, rice, bread, cereal and potatoes. Carbohydrates are important for the long-distance runner. If you don’t have enough in your system you might just hit a wall and not be able to go any further.


Stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats like those from red meats. Some fats are good for you, but they must be in moderation. You should consume unsaturated fats that can be found in olive oil, peanut oil and fish.


Runners need more protein than non-runners, but still protein should only be about 15% of your total calories for a day. Protein is good for energy and to help repair the stress on the body during training. Proteins are good for any diet, but too much protein will be stored in the body as fat.


As a runner it is important that you pay close attention to how much you’re drinking before, during and after a run. Staying hydrated is a very important aspect of preparing for a run, as well as helping your body recover from a run. Drinking a sport’s drink or water an hour before a run is a good way to get ready. Then it is important to have fluid during your run–every 20 to 30 minutes is good for drinks. If you’re running in a race, water stations can usually be found throughout the course to make sure that you stay hydrated.

Just because the race is over, however, doesn’t mean you don’t have to continue hydrating. Make sure you have consumed enough water and/or sport’s drinks to give your body back what the run took from it.

Nutrition for the Run

If you condition your body with good training habits on and off the training course your body will feel the difference. To achieve optimal health you want to give your body the fuel it needs to survive the challenges you want to face. It’s very important to maintain proper nutrition before, during and after a race.


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