In this video, Jo Pavey talks you through the importance of good nutrition to ensure your body has everything it needs to perform at its best and recover after running. A balanced diet is essential for good health and getting the right nutrients and fluid at the right times will support your running journey.
As your running progresses your energy demands will increase, so it's important to make sure you consume enough carbohydrates. At first you won't be doing a very high volume of running, so increasing your carbohydrate intake will be more crucial as you progress to higher volumes of training. Ensuring that you cover your energy requirements during harder blocks of training is important, as inadequate energy intake will affect your ability to recover from workouts and can lead to a lowered immune system, fatigue and even muscle loss. You'll need to ensure you eat enough carbohydrates to maintain glycogen stores in your muscles.
As a runner, you'll need to consume some extra protein for recovery as it's important for the repair and maintenance of muscle. Inadequate protein intake could lead to an increased likelihood of picking up an injury.
Often runners try to avoid fat in their diet, but some fat is essential, especially for overall health as it is necessary for absorbing fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E.
It shouldn't be necessary to take supplements if you're eating a balanced diet. However, runners do need to ensure an adequate intake of iron, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin D. Certain diets may require additional support to get adequate amounts of these.
During or after intense exercise, sports drinks that contain electrolytes are useful to replace electrolyte loss and can help you rehydrate quickly.
Good pre-run snacks need to have easily digestible carbohydrates, such as some porridge with banana. You can include some protein, such as nut butter on toast, for more sustainable energy. Just choose something that won't upset your stomach and try different things to establish what works best for you. Make sure you keep to your routine for important runs and events.
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