A controversial topic that often comes up for runners is how you should eat. It is no secret that a great side effect of running is being able to eat more. Running revs up your metabolism which in turn makes you burn more!
It is hard because you don’t want to eat too much but you also want to make sure you are eating enough. It is really about figuring out what works for your body. A lot of trial and error. EveryBODY is different. Too often I hear runners comparing themselves to other runners. What other runners are doing. What other runners are eating. Most of the time it is a runner they look up to or deem to be a “better” runner. But you are not doing yourself any favors getting stuck in the comparison trap. That is what it is, a trap! Everybody has a different genetic makeup and therefore requires different things. I would encourage you to try different things and find what works for you and your body specifically.
But let's not complicate it. Some things are consistent for every runner and what they need as far as fuel goes. Unless otherwise directed by a doctor, you want to make sure you are getting a good balance of all your macronutrients. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein and fat.
As far as how much, listen to your body!
Listen to your hunger signals. Eat when you’re hungry. Eat what your body is craving. Your body knows what it needs, so listen to it!
As a general recommendation, I always say try and get at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts of protein with every meal. Do not be afraid of carbs. Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. You NEED them unless otherwise directed by a doctor.
With that being said, I know a lot of runners who have been successful with the Keto Diet and that is wonderful but my body personally thrives off of carbs.
I used to be the runner who thought smaller meant faster. I say “used to” because I am more educated now and I know that is not true. Smaller does not always mean healthier and in order to be a good runner, you have to be healthy.
When I started eating enough, my times dropped drastically. I started fueling my body properly and not only did I get faster, but it has helped dramatically with injury prevention. Lack of proper nutrients can cause injuries and as a runner there is nothing more heartbreaking in your progress than a setback due to an injury.
My favorite pre run meal is overnight protein oats. I put all of the ingredients in a jar in the refrigerator overnight and then warm them up over the stove in the morning. The typical ingredients are 1⁄2 cup oats, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 scoop protein powder and 1 cup milk of choice. In the morning, I warm it up and typically top it off with some dark chocolate chips, granola, banana slices and almond butter but the toppings are endless! It is the perfect meal for me to start my day and perfect fuel for a run. I get my carbs from the oats and granola, healthy fats from the chia seeds, dark chocolate and almond butter and protein from the protein powder and almond butter. I also get a serving of fruit in with the banana. I usually need an hour or two to digest this before running, but if I need something quick right before a run I usually have a bagel and almond butter or just a banana and almond butter.
My biggest advice when it comes to eating for runners is to make sure you are eating enough and getting in all of the essential nutrients. Food is fuel.
Written By 6AM Writer & Sponsored Runner: Annie Noffsinger of Anniekayfitness.com Instagram- @anniekayfitness
Photo by: Andrew Wheating
Featured below- 6AM Run's dedicated fan and long time customer Nicole Bray Biretz made the recipe mentioned above and paired it with a cup of 6AM Run vitamin coffee!