A good race doesn't just depend on your training. To improve your speed and performance, you also need to consider what you are building into your body. The right food at the right time can increase your mileage enormously. You also reduce the risk of injury and illness. The best foods that every runner should include in their diet are:
If you need a high-carb energy booster before the afternoon, you can't go wrong with a banana. This fruit also contains a healthy dose of potassium (around 400 mg). This is especially important for long distance runs or at hot temperatures if you are likely to sweat a lot and lose valuable minerals as a result. potassium (as well as other minerals like sodium, magnesium, and chloride) compensate for this loss while lowering your blood pressure. (1)
Oatmeal is the perfect breakfast if you want to go for a run afterwards. It provides you with plenty of carbohydrates (one serving contains approx. 25 g) and is rich in fiber. Oats also have a low glycemic index. This means that your blood sugar levels will go up slowly, keep you energized for a longer period of time, and make you feel full longer. Did you also know that a healthy adult should get around 50% of their total energy from carbohydrates?
Did you know that a healthy adult should get around 50% of their total energy from carbohydrates?
3. Peanut butter
We speak of pure peanut butter without additives such as sugar, salt or oil. It is a good source of vitamin E, which is probably the most potent antioxidant of the vitamins. It is true that peanuts contain a lot fat (makes it anything but low in calories), it consists mainly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.(2) They're also important for boosting your immune system, speeding up your post-run recovery, and preventing injuries. Peanut butter is also high in protein, so it will help your muscles grow, This makes it an important part of a runner's diet. Try putting peanut butter on whole grain toast with banana slices – – it tastes amazing! It is also good for a snack with a few apple slices
These green vegetables are full of vitamin C.This makes it one of the best foods for runners. Wondering why? Studies show that vitamin C can Reduce the risk of muscle soreness or prevent it even after intense training sessions.(3)Broccoli is also a great source of calcium, folic acid, and vitamin K, which help strengthen our bones. Our tip: Broccoli tastes good with Tofu, Salmon or lean beef.
5. Natural yogurt
Yogurt is the perfect combination of carbohydrates and proteins. It's worth almost 85%This means that it contains a high percentage of essential amino acids (which cannot be synthesized by the body and must therefore be ingested through food). Consumed right after a run, it can Speed up your recovery and protect your muscles. The calcium it contains also strengthens your bones. An added benefit of yogurt is that it contains live lactic acid bacteria (probiotics). These stimulate your intestinal flora and thus strengthen your immune system.(4) This is important for everyone, not just runners.
6. Dark chocolate
As a hard-working runner, you can treat yourself to something every now and then. Dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) can Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.(5) In addition, the flavanols (secondary metabolites) they contain help reduce inflammation.
But as always:
It always depends on the portion size. Two or three squares on chocolate are plentiful. Combined with a handful of nuts, they can help you overcome the afternoon slump.
7. Whole wheat pasta
It is no coincidence that people often have pasta parties the night before a marathon. Not only will these events help you find the right mindset for the next day's race, but the high-carb meal will also replenish your glycogen stores. Full Glycogen reserves provide you with the energy you need during the marathon. When buying pasta and bread, make sure you choose them Whole grain variety – – These keep you full longer and contain additional B vitamins (like bananas). These are essential for Muscle building and can improve your endurance and performance. Enjoy your pasta, for example, with a tuna-tomato sauce instead of the hearty carbonara version. It's not that heavy in your stomach, but it's still full of calories.
Studies have shown that a cup of coffee can give yours High intensity interval training a boost. The caffeine it contains helps you run faster and cover your training distance in less time.(6) It is important that you drink black coffee – without milk and sugar. Many people still think that coffee dehydrates your body, but that's not true. What coffee does is increase your urine output, which means you may have to go to the bathroom more often than usual. Which if you think about it, probably not great during a marathon.
Potatoes, like bananas, are a valuable source of potassium and therefore a staple for every runner. The calorie content is also worth mentioning. For example, 100 g of the popular vegetable has two-thirds fewer calories than 100 g of rice. In combination with lean chicken, salmon or fried eggs, they make a healthy and tasty recreational meal. Also, did you know that just one large sweet potato can meet your total daily vitamin A requirement? This vitamin acts as an antioxidant, improving your eyesight, strengthening your bone tissue, and boosting your immune system.(7)
Food for runners in a nutshell
So, you can see that a runner's eating plan should be balanced and varied. What you eat, how often you eat, and when you eat should always be tailored to your personal goals. Do you Do you need more tips about eating? Learn more about the best foods before running.