What’s happening today?
- Runner’s Tell All Linkup? CHECK!
- The Monday Fun Run Day Series? (Learn more here.) CHECK!
- I, little Miss Nutralicious, am co-hosting the Runner’s Tell All Linkup? CHECK!
It doesn’t get much better than this folks, am I right? Wrong!
Today’s topic is nutrition!
BANG!!! Yep, I just exploded.
I am a nutrition expert*.
I mean, obviously I operate a blog titled “Miss Nutralicious”, and the words ‘nutralicious’ and ‘nutrition’ start with the same 4 letters. This is not just a freaky coincidence. It means I know what I’m talking about.
So, let’s get to it!
Miss Nutralicious Presents: My Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Runners
All foods have different vitamins and minerals. Filling our plates with a variety of good stuff is one simple way to give our bodies all of the nutrients that different foods provide.
- Include foods from at least 3 food groups at each meal. (Food group refresher: grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and protein.)
- Aim for color: Make your plate look like a rainbow. Choose foods that are naturally colorful.
- Make ½ of your meal fruits and vegetables.
Why would anyone register for a race, practice running daily for 6 months, but never practice eating healthy? It doesn't make sense to omit healthy eating from a training routine. Food is fuel for our bodies, and it is nearly impossible to run efficiently if our bodies are fueled by junk.
Think of it this way: If a runner trains for 6 months and eats 3 meals per day, he will eat 540 practice meals before race day.
-540 opportunities to determine which foods our bodies will tolerate.
-540 chances to narrow down “problem” foods and discover that hey, maybe my body doesn’t run well after a hearty bowl of oatmeal. Or, hey, maybe eating spaghetti the night before a race gives me heartburn.
-540 chances to discover which foods to eat the night before a race for a successful run.
-540 opportunities to find a pre-race breakfast that prevents stomach aches and limits race day port-a-potty visits.
By the time a runner approaches a starting line, he should be confident that he has made proper meal choices, and he should be able to focus on running instead of port-a-potty lines.
- Practice running and eating at the same time you will run and eat on race day.
- Don’t try new foods on race day!
- If you plan to use energy gel, gu, or tablets, during a race, practice using them on training runs first.
- Find out what foods will be available at the aide stations of your race, then practice using these foods on training runs.
Answer: Just like money, apple juice, french fries, and blueberry pie don’t grow on trees.
Natural foods usually have more nutrients. When a food has been put through a lot of processes to change it from its original state, more than likely, it has lost a lot of its nutritional value along the way.
Nature is cool! Nature provides us with naturally healthy, awesome foods!
- Choose natural foods as often as possible (think: whole fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat or fat free milk, and lean protein foods.)
4. Eat Breakfast
DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST!!!
Like a car, your body can’t operate on “empty”. Breakfast gives us the fuel that we need to make it through the day. Need more proof?
-Better muscle coordination
-Reduced early morning stomach aches
-Increased likelihood of reaching your daily nutrient needs
-Enhanced problem solving skills
-Increased strength and endurance for physical activity
- No Time? Breakfast doesn’t have to be a homemade sit-down meal. Grab an “on-the-go” breakfast, like a banana, granola bar, cheese stick, or yogurt. Still feeling rushed? Keep a box of mid-morning breakfast snacks at your desk so that you have a healthy option when you get to work.
- Dislike Breakfast Foods? Fine. Eat leftover dinner, make a sandwich, have a salad. If it is morning time, regardless of your food choices, you are eating breakfast.
- Not Hungry? A lot of people get stuck in a vicious cycle; skip breakfast, snack throughout the day, have a GIGANTIC dinner, and still feel so stuffed in the morning that the thought of breakfast is sickening. Try something small like a piece of toast, fruit, or a cup of 100% fruit juice.
5. Don't Be An Idiot
- Practice moderation. Let's challenge your brain with a math problem.
If 100 cookies per day = not healthy, and 100 fried chicken legs per day = not healthy, solve for X in the following equation: 100 bananas per day = X
The answer: X= NOT HEALTHY!
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Variety is important (see tip #1).
Please don’t replace all of your foods with Clif Bars and Fiber One brownies.
- Alcohol: What’s that you say? You are running a race in a new town and you are staying overnight at a fancy hotel?! Do you think it would be a good idea to tour the town until 1 am, and visit all of the local breweries?
Nope. Actually, it’s a horrible idea. Alcohol is not a sports drink. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect and can negatively impact your race performance.
- Don’t Skip Meals: How can you fuel your body if you are not eating food? You can’t. Don’t skip a meal unless you are trying to be an idiot.
Nutrition is a science, but for each unique runner, discovering optimal nutrition strategies requires a lot of trial and error. Have fun, practice healthy eating, choose a variety of wholesome foods, eat breakfast, avoid being and idiot and keep running.
*For those of you who may be thinking that ‘health nut’ and ‘nutty-crazy-lady’ also start with ‘nut’, I should point out that in real life I am a registered dietitian. I also have a master’s degree in public health nutrition. So pay attention! I am qualified to teach you (the public) about fuel (nutrition).
For now, referring to me as The Master remains optional.
Leave A Comment: Have you ever been an idiot when it comes to fueling for a run? Please share! Have a general nutrition question? Yo, I’ll solve it! (Just ask it in the comment section.) Reminder: 5 more days to have your running questions answered by Running Royalty. Have a question for a former professional runner? Ask, and tune in next Monday for an answer!