Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Guide To Nutrition For Those New To Running.

By James Lowndes

So you have had a curry and a few pints the night before. You will be ok and running will be a good way to sweat it out, right? Wrong!

Don't run on an empty stomach, instead try and opt for a meal that leans more towards complex carbohydrates. These will release their energy more slowly, keeping your energy levels steady throughout the run. Good choices would be toast with jam, muesli or porridge. Try to eat at least two hours before your run. If this is not possible then a sports drink will be enough to get your fuel tank loaded for the run ahead, as long as it is less than an hour and a half.

If you were sensible and had a good meal, with plenty of carbohydrates and a few glasses of fruit juice, you can just get up and run right? Wrong!

Tip: keep the fruit bowl well stocked. A banana eaten before your run is a great source of quick release energy

An ideal pre run meal will be low in protein or fat, to avoid any discomfort while you pound the pavement. Some runners choose toast or cereal, others go for good old porridge, the main thing to remember is to get something inside you at least 2 hours before you head out of the door.

Once you have warmed up and hit the road, your body will have all it needs to keep you going.

On the road, the trick is to obey your thirst. Drink too little and you will underperform (studies have shown that a 2% level of dehydration can result in a 10% to 20% drop in performance) on the other hand drink too much and you will be searching for the nearest loo. Sip little and often.

Good old fashioned h2o is all you need for runs up to an hour. Anything longer than this and you may benefit from a sports drink. These will provide valuable carbohydrates to keep you going for longer, as well as electrolytes that will be lost by sweating.

Now the run has finished, you can stretch and slump on the sofa right? Wrong!

Once your run is over, go through your usual stretching routine and then think about hydration again.

Tip: If you have time, make a quick sandwich before your run. The last thing you will want to do later is chop, slice and dice.

By stretching and eating sensibly you will find that you feel better before, during and after your runs.

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