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What Should An Endurance Runner Eat?

Hi on another Wednesday of this month! As you have guessed, Treadmills.me will cover nutrition for endurance runners today. What any endurance runner should eat has undergone changes particularly in the last decade. There is no doubt however, that their protein intake should be high as also should their intake of carbohydrate.Their food programs should have different stresses depending on which phase of training they are in. I have provided in today’s post what are the basics an endurance athlete should look at in the different phases of his/her sport.

Anti-oxidant foods: Long-distance runners specifically should have an anti-oxidant rich diet. They can get their anti-oxidant fix from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables in the purple, blue, red and yellow color basket will prove best. Lycopene, beta-carotenes etc are essential for endurance athletes as long duration exercises produce free radicals, which cause cell (especially cardio cell) damage. Anti-oxidants are natural free-radical scavengers.

Proteins: High quality proteins are essential for endurance runners. Most proteins from animal origin are of high quality. They are considered so, because they have a high Biological Value (BV) or are complete proteins having all or nearly all of the 8 essential amino acids (building block of proteins). Eggs, poultry and fish should be high on their diet agenda. These high quality proteins will also build their immune systems, which are generally weakened /compromised after long runs and endurance training. On an average, he/she should consume 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. However, approximately 20-25 grams of protein are recommended an hour before and after training.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrate Loading (which has been covered in one of my earlier posts) is usually advisable and practiced by marathon runners. This helps such athletes to defer or delay the depletion of muscle glycogen (which in normal people lasts up to 20 minutes after the commencement of a workout).

Energy drinks: For any workout stretching beyond an hour and a half, energy-based drinks are advisable. For an endurance runner, such drinks should be glucose derivatives, not sucrose ones. It should also contain electrolytes beyond potassium and salt. Recovery drinks are recommended post exercises in 3:1 ratio in favour of carbohydrates,

Carbohydrate-Protein Mix: This falls in the post-training session meal section. Immediately after a marathon run, the runner may have energy gels or drink non-carbonated energy drinks. The same day, post-run meals could include pasta with chicken or a double cheese pizza or any other high carbohydrate-protein mix, high fat-protein mix food will serve best. Beer or any other non-alcoholic high calorie drink as beverage will do.

Water: Water takes on added significance in the days between training or competition because the metabolization of high protein diet results in the production of nitrogen-based toxic wastes that should be rapidly expelled from the system. It also helps flush out lactic acid build up if any, keeps the system well hydrated and promotes better organ function and normal body temperatures.

Until next week, keep up with your workouts and your diet!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Rich Dansereau May 14, 2009, 5:24 am

    This is some great info. It is very important that runners, especially long distance runners, pay very close attention to their nutrition.