Work out and eat well: Food and hydration during running can play a very important role in training and performance. To run, you need water and fuel. But how do eat well and hydrate when running? Here are some rules to follow to improve your performance and comfort during your running event.
Before the race (Work out and eat well)
The first rule to follow to improve your performance is to be well fed and well hydrated before even hitting the road. If you run on an empty stomach, you risk exhausting yourself. However, you should avoid having a full stomach when doing your activity.
To be well hydrated, drink water before you run. You have been drinking enough if your urine is clear and abundant before you leave. But be careful not to drink too much water, as you will feel bloated, which is uncomfortable.
Eat a full meal about three hours before you leave, usually right after getting up. Choose foods that you know and tolerate well, then compose your meal so that it is high in carbohydrates but low in fat and fiber. You can prepare it roughly this way:
- 1/3 starchy foods (for example, some toast)
- 1/3 fruit and vegetables (for example, a homemade smoothie)
- 1/3 protein foods (e.g 2-3 eggs)
An hour or two before you run, eat a small snack. This should be a source of carbohydrates since this is what your muscles need during exercise. Opt for peel-free fruit (such as a banana), a small uncoated granola-like cereal bar, or applesauce, which is easy to digest.
During the race (Work out and eat well)
If you have followed the above rules for your pre-race diet and hydration and the race is less than an hour, water is sufficient.
Normally, you should have everything you need to support your effort. Obviously, if it’s very hot (20 degrees or more), drinking will be even more important in order to limit the rise in your body temperature. You have to be careful not to drink too much, but a few sips at a time throughout the run are perfect (the ideal amount is usually 1/2 cup of water in 20 to 25 minutes).
If the race lasts more than an hour, here are the tips to follow.
During long runs, quench your thirst by drinking small amounts of water regularly. If you are not hydrated enough, you will be more tired after your run. Again, be careful not to drink too much, as this could give you side points.
In the long run, you will need to add fuel to your system, and it should be made up of carbohydrates. The sports drink is the “all-inclusive” formula that is easy to transport. These drinks, such as Powerade and Gatorade, are made with water, carbohydrates, and minerals. But beware, there are much better quality versions in specialty stores, but be aware that it is also very easy and much cheaper to make your own sports drink.
If you feel the need to eat, opt for dried fruit or energy bars, such as Clif or Larabar for example.
After the race
After your activity, you will need to recover from this effort! Running can create micro-tears in the muscles, which you need to repair with protein. You also need to refuel with other carbohydrates.
After the race, your urine should be lemonade colored. If it is the color of apple juice, then you are probably dehydrated to a higher level, which could have affected your performance or your enjoyment. To prevent this from happening, drink at least 1 to 2 liters of water soon after your run.
As soon as possible after the race (ideally in less than 30 minutes), eat a meal (or at least a good snack, depending on the length of the race), containing both protein and carbohydrates. This meal contains everything you need to repair your muscles.
Also, be sure to eat protein throughout the day after the race. Chocolate milk is a good “all-inclusive” formula for recovery, regardless of whether it is made from dairy products or plant-based milk. However, this drink is perfect for recovery, but its high sugar level is not recommended on other occasions! Finally, smoothies can also help you recover. Mix fruit, milk, or yogurt with honey or maple syrup.
The role of essential micronutrients (Work out and eat well)
They are used to build, repair, and maintain your muscles and tissues as well as for the proper functioning of your immune system. From a nutritional point of view, there is no difference between animal and vegetable proteins.
Carbohydrates give your muscles and brain energy. They allow a reserve of energy in the muscles and the liver. There are two types of carbohydrates: simple (sugary drinks or candies) and complex (bread, pasta, fruits, and vegetables) …
They are energy reserves for adipose tissue and carry fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. They are divided into two categories: the “good” fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, fish, etc.) and the “bad” fats (frying, saturated fats) …
Food and hydration needs are individual and differ from person to person; it’s up to you to find what suits you best. Also, before an event like a race, avoid eating new foods.