Running diet requirements

Fuel your body with the right running ingredients

Whilst running will put you on the right track towards a healthier and fitter lifestyle, it's important to balance your day-to-day running by fueling your body in the right way. Eating healthily is as important to a runner as physical exercise is, as you need to find the right energy foods to fuel your body's running efforts.

Here's our guide as to what energy-rich foods you should be targeting to make your running all the more effective.

You can better maximize your running training efforts by learning to fuel your body with the right foods and drinks. You might ask why nutrition is important for running exercise but getting the right energy combination into your diet will go a long way in improving your running techniques.

Most importantly, good nutrition can help you get the most from your run training. Eating a healthy diet can help you to compete for longer, it can also help you to focus and concentrate. What could be better than knowing that your healthy diet could give you even better fitness and running performance?

It can give you more energy and help you to compete at your best. It will also help you recover from your run training sessions. Choosing foods from the five food groups in the right proportions will give you all the essential nutrients you need; carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are needed for growth and repair, to keep the body healthy and to provide energy for exercise.

Carbohydrate is the most important fuel for an active person and is stored in the muscles as glycogen. These stores are used during activity when energy is needed quickly. The larger the glycogen stores are in your muscles the longer you can exercise. Starchy foods are an excellent source of carbohydrate for runners; choose foods such as pasta, potatoes, rice, noodles, all types of bread, rolls, pitta bread and chapattis, breakfast cereals, oats (porridge), pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans (baked beans, kidney beans).

Do not forget though the other important parts of a healthy diet, as you should still be having a balance from the other food groups;

  • Fruit and vegetables. These provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals
  • Meat, fish and alternatives. These provide protein, iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins
  • Milk and dairy foods. These provide calcium, protein, vitamins B 12, A and D

Fatty and sugary foods as top-up running energy
In the training diet we generally suggest runner reduce the amount of sugar and fat eaten. However, sugary foods can be useful when you do a lot of running exercise as they contain carbohydrate in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Use starchy foods as your main source of carbohydrate and use sugary foods as a top-up to give you more running energy. Some examples of sugary foods that can be used to help ‘top-up’ your carbohydrate stores are jelly beans and other sugary sweets, biscuits such as ginger nuts, fig rolls and garibaldis, malt loaf, ordinary fizzy drinks and squash, and fruit buns.


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