Nutrition Before & After Training

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Proper nourishment before and after exercising helps you get the most out of your workout and prevent injury. How much protein and carbs does a runner need?



Protein needs for athletes is essential for muscle and tissue repair, muscle growth and regulation of metabolism. A long distance runner needs .54 grams of protein per pound of body weight. You can calculate your daily protein intake by using 0.54 grams of protein X your body weight. So a 150 pound person would need 81 grams of protein a day.

Sources of protein are meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, vegetables and protein shakes.

Carbohydrate Needs Before Running

CarbohydratesPre-running carbohydrate intake guidelines: 0.5-1.8 grams of carbohydrate per pound body weight (1-4 hours before exercise). Carbohydrates create glycogen stores.

Examples of carbohydrate rich meals are: plain bagel, waffles, pan cakes, cooked oatmeal, cold cereal, bran muffin, baked potatoe, banana, raisins, peanut butter on whole wheat, Power Bar, Fig Newtons, sports drink. Recoverite as a recovery drink is useful as well as a source of glutamine which is also necessary.

While Working Out

Your body is constant utilizing the glycogen stores, you need to replenish them with items like gels, shot blocks, fig newtons, and energy beans. It is important to ingest them with water. Electrolyte replacement is important as well. Drinks such as Perpetuam, Gatorade and Heed are important as the weather gets warmer and electrolytes are lost from the body in perspiration.

Drinking a shakeNutritional needs after running are very important. You have a half hour window to replace essential nutrients for recovery after a long run. It is recommended that you in jest .5 – .7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight.

Post-run recommendations are a smoothie with bananas, strawberries, chocolate milk and ice, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or an energy drink such as Muscle Milk or any of the items listed in the pre running meals.

Race Day Eating

Fuel Your Way To Fast by Nicki Miller is a great guide to race-day eating for a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon. Below is for a 5K.

2 hours before: Toast with jelly and banana, plus 16 oz. water*. Fuel up with some easily digestible carbs.

During: Nothing. You’re running too fast! But if it’s hot, grab some water along the course.

30 minutes after: Low-fat yogurt. A little snack with protein will help recovery.

1 hour after: A real meal, like a veggie omelet and a piece of fruit. Replenish your body with healthy fuel.