In this third instalment about planning for your first distance run, I offer some guidance on nutrition.
Just as with any car, a great engine is useless without the correct fuel and maintenance, the same goes for running. What you eat and drink can impact greatly how well you perform so you need to think of your diet as being central to providing fuel for your body’s “engine” and helping your muscles to “repair” after they have been working hard.
The simplest advice is to try and maintain a steady regime of three healthy meals a day with a balance of carbohydrates and protein – the carbs give you energy to run whilst the protein helps your body repair any damage suffered to muscles. Whilst potatoes, pasta and brown rice are obvious sources of carbs, don’t forget that plenty of vegetables also contain carbohydrates and vitamins. Chicken, fish, and turkey are all good sources of protein. Sadly, the one thing to certainly reduce or ideally avoid altogether is alcohol.
Always try and eat a meal within 30 minutes of your training run as this allows the body to replenish sugar levels so that you are ready to go the next time. Rest is also essential as sleep enables the body to repair and refuel.
For snacking, avoid crisps and chocolate but try some nuts, raisins and fruit instead. One of the most important considerations though is hydration – you should aim to drink 2 litres of water a day and pay special attention to drinking plenty after you have completed a run. Dehydration can cause serious problems for runners.
For anyone needing advice or treatment for injuries, please contact me on 01279 813253.
To register for the Stansted 10K, please go to www.stclarehospice.org.uk/stansted10krun.html