NUTRITION BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER RUNNING APPLICABLE FROM NOVICE TO ELITE
Author: FUTURELIIFE® Dietitian
We know that elite athletes need to follow stringent dietary guidelines in order to perform at their best. But what if you just run for fun, are a weekend warrior or are simply looking to improve in your fitness? There are some science-based nutrition guidelines that can benefit everyone in the running community.
TIPS FOR NUTRITION AROUND RUNNING (BEFORE, DURING, AFTER)
Don’t skip your pre-run meal
Choosing a what to eat before a run may seem intimidating – especially if you are prone to tummy issues or cramps. Don’t let fear tempt you to skip your pre-run meal as it is important and will serve as fuel for your muscles during the workout. To prevent discomfort during the run, I have 2 main tips, firstly, allow enough time for your tummy to “settle” and secondly, choose the right foods.
This meal should ideally be consumed 2-4 hours before the session begins, if there isn’t enough time for this rather choose easily digested, carbohydrate rich snacks which can be included in the last two hours. The ideal pre-race meal should provide low gIycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates to increase energy stores and allow sustained energy release. It should contain some protein but be low in fat. If you are prone to tummy issues during exercise it is also advisable to choose lower fibre options. Remember to start your run properly hydrated, fluid intake is very important – dehydration can destroy your performance and enjoyment of the run.
WHICH FUTURELIFE PRODUCTS CAN I USE BEFORE MY RUN?
FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ and FUTURELIFE® Smart Oats® and Ancient Grains are your 2 best meal options for before a run. If your stomach is sensitive to fibre during a run, rather opt for Smart food™. FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Bars make an easily digested snack that can be enjoyed in the 2 hours leading up to your run.
DO I NEED ANYTHING DURING THE RUN?
If you are doing a shorter run (less than an hour) and have begun the run well-fuelled, a small amount of water is all you might need. You can use thirst as an indicator of this requirement.
Longer runs (lasting more than 60-90 minutes) require easily digested carbohydrates for refuelling, as well as a more carefully thought out hydration plan. For more in-depth information on this topic, please read the article, “when do you need to eat and drink during exercise?” on www.futurelife.co.za .
WHICH FUTURELIFE PRODUCTS CAN I USE DURING MY RUN?
FUTURELIFE® HIGH ENERGY Bars provide around 23-24g of easily digested carbohydrates per serving as well as electrolytes to promote rehydration. Portion your bars into thirds or quarters to consume regularly during the exercise session if you struggle to consume large portions at once.
What should I have after?
After a run you may feel like eating anything and everything you lay your eyes on, but your tired muscles want more! The goal when choosing your post-exercise snack should be repairing muscles with protein and replenishing your energy stores with carbohydrates. When choosing what to eat try to find something that has a good blend of carb and protein, without much fat if possible. Remember, if you sweat, you’ve lost fluids too. Rehydration is very important after exercise.
WHICH FUTURELIFE PRODUCTS CAN I USE AFTER MY RUN?
FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Smart food™, FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN Bar and FUTURELIFE® HIGH PROTEIN LITE Bar make a great meal or snack after exercise, they contain low GI carbohydrates as well as SmartProtein3D™ consisting of whey, soy and casein proteins. Studies have shown that such a blend is ideal for muscle recovery because it prolongs muscle protein synthesis. This occurs because each protein has a different digestion rate, leading to a prolonged delivery of amino acids. SmartProtein3D also has a more balanced amino acid profile with soy being higher in glutamine and arginine and whey providing more Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs).
You don’t have to be an elite runner for your running to benefit from good nutrition practices. No matter your reason for running, these small tweaks before, during and after a session can help you to get the most benefit from your running and make the overall experience more enjoyable too.