AS WE ARE NOW RUNNING FOR A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME, IT IS IMPORTANT TO FUEL YOUR BODY READY FOR THE EXERCISE AHEAD. THE AREA OF FUEL AND HYDRATION IS HUGE BUT HERE IS MY ADVICE
It is a fine balance between eating healthily but also wanting to eat more as you are using up energy when you run. And if you don’t have enough fuel in your body you will feel like you are running through treacle. Lack of fuel prior to running can cause mental tiredness and dehydration which can make you feel rubbish when you run. Throw the bathroom scales away and don’t reward yourself too much for a run with food, yes you are burning calories but not as many as you think, I run over 40 miles a week and I still have to watch what I eat. I put weight on when training for my first marathon as I thought I could eat what I wanted, and I found to my cost that I couldn’t. Here is my advice
As a runner your body needs carbohydrates and these are stored as energy in the muscles and liver as glycogen, they are then quickly and efficiently released when you are active or exercising. You also need good fats as these are an essential source of fuel and energy but they are released more slowly. Protein is essential in running as you need it for repairing of the muscles. To make your body work more efficiently you need water for effective storage of glycogen, basically the water keeps the glycogen in your muscles until you need it.
Glycemic Index is a numerical measure of how quickly foods containing Carbs which boost your blood glucose levels after eating and high GI foods- 0ver 70 fill you quickly and give a fast burst of energy however they leave you hungry again a short time later whereas low GI foods below 50 fill you up but raise blood glucose slowly giving a more continuous energy release.
So if you are getting you energy from high GI foods these will fill you up quickly and give a fast burst of energy however they leave you hungry again after a short time later. Try not to skip meals as you won’t be storing any energy ready for your run and you could make you feel rubbish and if you are not drinking enough you won’t be keeping what carbs you have in your muscles ready for your exercise.
The majority of fruits and vegetables fall in low to medium GI foods whilst some processed foods eg cornflakes, white bread are high in GI. Look at improving your quality of food intake so stage your food intake regularly through the day to maximise storage, be aware of the high GI index of carbohydrates so that you maximise balanced energy requirements and make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water a day. I’d advise when you come in from a run that have food that is high in protein to help repair muscles.
I suggest that you optimise how much nutrition you have in one day, make sure you have foods that are high in nutrients and vary what you eat day by day so mix it up a bit, have stewed fruit for breakfast, black pudding or ham and eggs. Try to have porridge or a smoothie for breakfast this will release energy slowly. Snack on fruit and nuts, banana nut butter sandwich and try to cut down on your sugar content in your food so aim for food that has no more sugar content than 6/7g per 100g. You will find that low fat foods have more sugar so go for full fat and have Greek yoghurt (Total 0% fat is best for low sugar and then throw in some blueberries or raspberries, add a bit of honey or maple syrup).
Try having hummus and whole-wheat pitta bread for lunch with cut up peppers, celery, carrot sticks. Have oat cakes with nut butter on them in the afternoon when there is a dip in energy
Try different things and see what works for you, eat at least 2 hours before you run and if you are really hungry before your run you can have a banana to keep you going. Try to be balanced in your food intake and then the odd burger at the weekend won’t do you any harm