Running Nutrition 

Running on empty...literally? 

Melanie Steere, RD 

 

Good nutrition is a big part of being a successful athlete. Just like you wouldn’t drive your car for miles and miles with no gas in the tank, you shouldn’t push your body for miles and miles without fueling it up ahead of time. 

 

Carbohydrates are the body’s best source of fuel during exercise. Good sources of carbohydrates include grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (beans). 

 

When eaten, carbohydrates are partially converted to glycogen, which is stored in muscles. During exercise, blood sugar (glucose) levels drop as the muscles demand fuel. The body is able to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) happens when glycogen and glucose become depleted. Symptoms include: 

 

  •  Headache 

  •  Dizziness 

  •  Blurred vision 

  •  Anxiety and/or irritability 

  •  Sweating 

  •  Decreased ability to perform 

 

Making good food choices before and after training sessions and competitions will: 

 

  • Delay the onset of fatigue*

  • Promote recovery* 

  • Help your body adapt to workouts* 

  • Help you train longer and at a higher intensity* 

  • Enhance concentration* 

  • Help maintain healthy immune function* 

  • Reduce the chance of injury*

  • Reduce the risk of heat cramps and stomach aches* 

 

Eat right to get the best performance from your body when it matters most! 

 

*”It’s About Eating Right”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Because every athlete is different, there’s no “one size fits all” approach to the exact foods that will or won’t work best for you. With time and experience, you’ll be able to tailor a pre and post-exercise routine that minimizes GI upset and maximizes performance. Use these guidelines when choosing your pre-race foods:

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