Many consider running a way of life. It changes your schedule and changes your body. Runners are constantly setting new goals to hit, trying to improve their performance.
Becoming a great runner takes proper technique and lots of planning. If you're serious about running, your diet should also radically change to accommodate the strain you're putting on your body. Whether you're just starting out or training for a marathon, here's everything you need to know to make sure you're providing your body with the proper fuel to succeed.
Proper Caloric Intake
A male athlete requires anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 calories a day above and beyond the average requirement for non-athletes. For men who run about 30 miles per week, a daily consumption of between 20 and 22 calories per pound of body weight is appropriate, or 3,200 calories a day for a man weighing 160 pounds.
Overall, your diet should consist of 45 to 65 percent calories coming from carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent from protein and 20 to 35 percent from fat. Focus on meeting carbohydrate and protein requirements before fat intake. Since stores of glycogen are quickly depleted during medium to long runs, make sure you consume plenty of carbohydrates each and every day, aiming for 12 or more servings of grain and nine or more servings of fruits and vegetables. Eating a well balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, beans and legumes should give you what you need without additional supplementation.
Including carbohydrate supplement (like a shake) can help get you through higher mileage runs. Protein shakes are also great for pre and post-workout meals, helping the muscles recover properly to prevent injury and soreness.
The Importance of Hydration
Water is lost in terrific amounts through sweating during a long run and cannot be absorbed in sufficient amounts during exercise. Proper hydration is critical, as under-replenishment of water will cause your blood to thicken with heavier concentrations of salt, while over-replenishment may lead to edema, or swelling of the hands and feet. Male runners should drink 6 to 12 cups of water prior to a run and half a cup every 10 to 15 minutes, if possible, during the run. After you complete your workout, replace every pound of weight lost with 2 cups of water.
Weighing yourself before and after a run provides a good indication of your sweat loss. If you consume one 16-oz bottle of water during a two-hour run and your weight remains the same, your sweat loss is 16 oz per hour. If you lost one pound, then it would be 32 oz per hour (the average for a male runner). Be sure to weigh yourself in the nude to avoid the additional weight of sweat-soaked gym clothes.
Nutrition During Long-Distance Runs
Nutrition during a long race or training run is particularly important and plays a crucial part in overall performance. During a training run, you'll have no aid stations or crews to provide sustenance and you'll have to carry your own supplementation or pre-position it somehow for safety.
In order to plan, you need to know how much your body can physically absorb during a long run. A good rule of thumb is 60 g of carbohydrates per hour. Since each gram contains four calories, that works out to 240 calories per hour for an average male runner. This includes everything from sports drinks to gels, bananas and snack bars. After four to six hours of running, you can also consume protein at the rate of 1 g of protein to every 3 to 4 grams of carbs. The total hourly calorie consumption remains the same, at 240 calories.
Follow these tips to take your running to the next level and don't cut corners -- it will catch up with you. Shop for great supplements to help you out at eVitamins and get running!
Products you may like:
Twinlab Ultra Fuel Powder Fruit Punch Why you may like this product? Carbohydrates are key to the
nutrition of a runner,
providing the body with the
fuel it needs. This powder
provides 100 g of
carbohydrates per serving to
replace glycogen. Available in
fruit punch and orange
flavors, just mix with water
and drink to promote muscle
recovery as well as endurance.
Powerbar Power Gel Vanilla Why you may like this product? Whether taken before a
training session or during to
get you through to the finish
line, this product gives your
body exactly what it needs,
quickly. This amazing gel
replaces glycogen as well as
sodium, an essential
electrolyte lost during
training through our sweat.
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Statements made about specific vitamins, supplements, procedures or other items sold on or through this website have not been evaluated by eVitamins or by the United States Food and Drug Administration. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. As always, please consult with a licensed doctor or physician before starting any diet, exercise or supplement program, before taking any vitamin or medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a problem.