As you know, I'm getting towards the middle of my half marathon training. This is my first half post baby #2 (5th overall!) and I've realized how much my nutrition has tanked lately. Back before kids I was all about fuel timing and food journaling...now I eat when I eat and I run when I run and I often am not choosing the correct fuel, or eating it at the right time. I know I could be doing a better job, but I needed a refresher!
So, I reached out to my friend Julie. She's a Registered Dietitian who is a board-certified specialist in obesity and weight management. She runs an online nutritional business, "Nutrition With Julie", helping individuals to reach their desired health goals. Not only is she an expert in all things nutrition, she's a fellow runner, gluten and dairy free just like me, AND a loyal member of my doTERRA tribe.
Julie has some awesome, simple tips to help runners at any stage of training or life be better fueled. I hope you learn something new...I know I sure did! Enjoy!
Whether you’re an experienced runner or just starting out with a goal of running a 5 or 10k, nutrition plays an integral part of your daily routine. Some individuals choose to run first thing in the morning while others run later in the day or in the evenings. Many questions often asked include snacks or eating before runs, hydration during and after runs, are energy gels needed and what are the best types of food to eat post-run or race. Hopefully, I can tackle some of the questions for you!
If you are planning to run for less than an hour, a snack may not be needed. If you feel hungry or prefer to have a bite to eat, a small snack with a balance of carbohydrates and protein would be sufficient – for example, low-fat Greek yogurt with a handful of berries, half a banana with a small amount of peanut or almond butter, unsweetened applesauce or a handful of raisins (may be paired with a boiled egg white for the added protein – the yolk is beneficial and full of nutrients, but fat slows down digestion – save the yolk for post run).
For longer or more intense runs, a low-fat, low-fiber dish would be ideal. You want to avoid high fiber foods before runs to prevent any stomach discomfort. Ideally, it’s best to eat about 2 hours before your run to allow time for digestion. A balance of carbs, protein, and a small amount of fat will provide enough energy and fuel for that long run. An option may be scrambled eggs with spinach, a smoothie (Greek yogurt or a scoop of protein powder, a handful of berries, spinach, thinned with milk of choice), cottage cheese with fruit, yogurt and granola, a banana or apple with nut butter, white rice or white potatoes scrambled with an egg or chicken, or overnight gluten-free oats or quinoa with a scoop of protein powder.
After your running workout or race you can wait at least 30 minutes before eating to allow the body to return to a relaxed state, allowing for optimal digestion. An optimal meal would include a balance of carbs, protein, and fat such as chicken or fish with vegetables and a small sweet potato or eggs with vegetables and a slice of whole grain toast or sprouted corn tortillas.
Pre-and post run it’s important to be hydrated! Before your run, aim for at least 16oz of fluids about 2 hours beforehand to allow enough time for your body to process the fluids. Post run, the goal is to drink at least 16 to 24oz for each pound lost during activity. To have an idea of how much water to drink is to weigh yourself before your run and again afterwards to see how much water was lost through sweat.
What to drink post run? Water is always the best choice, as Gatorade and PowerAde are high in sugar – for those long runs when electrolytes need to be replaced, a better option other than a high sugar beverage would be coconut water, which is full of electrolytes and natural sugars to replace those glycogen stores. Other beverages to avoid are fizzy drinks, which can lead to bloating and discomfort after runs. Many studies have showed that after those long runs or an intense workout, low-fat chocolate milk is one of the best recovery fuels, as it has a balance of carbohydrates and protein and utilized in the body quickly and efficiently.
Of course with running, be sure to always listen to your body!
Thank you so much for the tips Julie! I had never thought or known to do egg whites pre-run, and the yolks post-run! Brilliant! If you have questions or are looking to optimize YOUR nutrition - I encourage you to reach out to Julie. You can email her HERE, follow her on Facebook, AND check out her YouTube Channel!
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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I am not a licensed medical professional. All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. Please consult your doctor with any medical issues before beginning a training program.
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