Following the recent London Marathon, there are many inspired and aspiring runners out on the roads at this time of year. Running is a really accessible and enjoyable way to get active and keep fit. Here at The Transformation Chef we’re all about the food and yes what you eat really can impact your running performance and recovery too! So today we’re breaking down the top tips for everything you need to know about how to eat to support your run.
Carbohydrates are of course fundamental to providing you with energy to sustain your run. Always aim to eat a main meal rich in carbohydrates around 2-4 hours before your run. Carbohydrate rich meals include quinoa salad, pasta with vegetable sauce, The Transformation Chef Caribbean Jackfruit or our Beef Massam Curry to name a few. Additionally, if you’re going on a longer run you may then want a carbohydrate rich snack around one hour before. Snacks include: oatcakes, a banana, a small bowl of porridge or a date.
Protein is important for muscle repair and muscle recovery, if you’re exercising a lot you want to aim for around 1.5g of protein per kg body weight. You don’t need to consume protein within thirty minutes of finishing your run, however, when you’re next eating a meal or snack do ensure there is a good source in there as this will help to support the recovery process and therefore allow for a better run next time. High protein meals include: an omelette, chicken and vegetables, tofu stir fry and our Asian Style Seared Tuna. Additionally, you can always grab some boiled eggs, peanut butter on rye toast or Greek yoghurt with berries for a quick protein hit.
Rehydration is essential for maintaining fluid balance and supporting optimal performance. It’s generally recommended to consume around 1.5x fluid lost however, this is difficult to measure and therefore try to drink to thirst.
CoQ10 is also another important nutrient (which is often not spoken about) and is required for running and exercising as it plays an important role in generating the production of ATP, which is the body’s energy currency. We can make some CoQ10 but we don’t tend to make enough and the amount we produce declines as age too. CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant which helps to remove free radicals which are produced naturally through exercise. Dietary sources of CoQ10 include: salmon, chicken, broccoli, peanuts and spinach to name a few.
Iron and Magnesium
Iron and magnesium are also key nutrients to aid exercise as they help to transport oxygen to the working muscles. When we’re running and engaging in aerobic exercise our oxygen demands increase so it’s key that we’re supporting those demands. Try snacking on dark chocolate or adding green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts to a post workout meal as they’re rich in iron and magnesium.
Potassium and Sodium
These are electrolytes which help to maintain fluid balance and are lost through sweat. It’s vital that we replace them in order to support optimal hydration and fluid balance within the body. Potassium can be found in bananas, avocados, apricots and lentils whilst sodium can be found in salt and salty foods such as olives, sardines and salted nuts.
There you have a few key tips for supporting your run. Remember to listen to your body and fuel as required too!