The Runner’s Diet
Ever thought, what the heck do I eat before a run? Experimented with shakes that have made you want to hurl or had to stop running because you ran out of energy? Trust me, I’ve been there and back again and nothing sucks more than when you are geared up for a run and can’t go half as far or as fast because you didn’t give much thought to your nutrition. The two go hand in hand, for real.
What you put in your body even days prior has an effect so it’s important to get in tune to what your body needs and yes, this is different for everyone.
I have been a runner for years, first a sprinter and now I run distance anywhere from 10km up to half-marathons. Of course my food choices were not always the greatest and I have learned through adrenal fatigue and injury what NOT to do.
This is what works for me, again, it may not work for everyone but my years of experience and speaking to other runners, this is what I have gathered:
Pre-Run - EAT! I’m serious here. For those of you who are do fasting runs this is fine for the first few weeks or even months that you start running but in my first hand experience, this is the fastest way to MURDER your adrenal glands and cause long-term fatigue and burn out. Sure you may lose a little weight at first but you won’t be running for long before injury and exhaustion set in so pick your battles.
I choose meals that are rich in carbohydrates and lean proteins with a little fat to keep me satiated. I am sure to eat at least 40 minutes before heading out for a run.
Standard rule of thumb is 3 Carbs to 1 Protein ratio but I like to balance it out with an equal ratio and a tiny bit of fat. For those who tend to notice that they feel tired, its best to leave out the fat altogether at this point and stick with the simple carb & protein meal. Here are some of my fave options:
- 3/4 Cup Slow Cook Oatmeal & 7 Egg Whites OR 1 Scoop SUNWARRIOR Protein Powder with optional 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk & 1/2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
- 3/4 Cup Oats & 1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt + 1/2 Cup Mixed Berries + optional 1 Tbsp Raw Nuts
- Zain’s Balance Bowl
- 9 Egg White Omelet with Veggies & 1/2 Cup Brown Rice
- 5oz Lean White Fish with Veggies & 1/2 Cup Quinoa
- 1 Scoop Protein + 1/2 Cup Mixed Berries + 1/2 Cup Oats + Water OR optional 1/2 Tbsp Nut Butter & 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
Pre-Run Hydration - You should aim to have at least 1-2 liters of water in your body before you run. This will help you to excrete toxins via sweat and will keep your muscles from cramping.
Sound like a lot? For some it may be but eating this way will keep you running strong well into your later years so it’s definitely worth considering.
Post-Run - RE-FUEL!! Your body has burned a lot of energy and your muscles are starving for glucose. After a run, I aim for simple carbs like fruit. My favourite post-run meals include a really sweet fruit such as banana or mango. Here are some options:
- 1 Scoop Protein Powder + 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk + 1/2 Frozen Banana + 1/4 Avocado + 1 Bunch Kale + 1 Tsp Vanilla + 1/2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
- 5oz White Fish + 1/4 Cup Black Beans + 1/4 Cup Corn + Mango & Pineapple Salsa
- 4oz Sashimi + 1/2 Cup Brown Rice + Steamed Veg
- Zain’s Wonderland Salad
- 9 Egg Whites & Sweet Potato Frittata with Fresh Fruit
- Zain’s Vegan Protein Pancakes OR Zain’s Cookie Dough Pancakes
Post-Run Hydration - I am for at least 3 additional liters on days that I run so about 5 liters in total or a gallon for my American homies.
The bottom line is that running increases your body’s needs for energy and calories so love yourself and take care of yourself because no one’s going to do it for you.