Eat Right to Run Right
Everyone in our family seems to be 'in-training' for something or other. It's either a marathon or half marathon, a Wolf Run or a triathlon. As a consequence, everyone seems to be watching their diet and checking on what is best to eat in preparation for the 'Big Day'. So, it is with this in mind, that I have been scouring the food books and magazines to find the best tips for getting over the finishing line and collecting one of those many medals every finisher cherishes. Good advice seems to come in six steps from nutritional expert James Collins. He suggest the following:
- Get a boost from caffeine - Not only can caffeine boost performance, it can also make exercise feel more enjoyable and easier. If running is a struggle, try drinking a strong cup of tea or coffee about 60 minutes before training.
- Include iron-rich foods - Iron is vital for carrying oxygen to the working muscles and keeps your energy levels up when your undertaking endurance exercise. Iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, fish, peas, lentils and dark green leafy vegetables. Try to include them in at least three main meals a week..
- More milk for your muscles - Recent research has shown that semi-skimmed milk is an effective and inexpensive alternative to many commercial recovery drinks. A couple of large glasses of 500ml of milk after exercise is all you need for your muscles to start their recovery. However, the longer, harder training sessions you may need to pack an extra carbohydrate based snack too.
- Pack in fruit and vegetables - Increasing the amount of vegetables you eat with each meal will help to reduce muscle soreness. Pick antioxidant-rich fruit like prunes, raisins and blueberries, and vegetables such as garlic, kale, broccoli, peppers, avocado and spinach. Aim to eat a rainbow of colourful vegetables for maximum benefit.
- Drink up - Make sure you start your race fully hydrated. Drinking half a litre of water two hours before the race should be plenty. Immediately before the start, drink a small amount of about 150ml. If you're doing a long run, the drinking should match sweat loss as closely as possible; 200ml of fluid every every two miles is a good guide.
- Don't try anything new - The night and morning before the race is not the time to eat something new or anything too spicy, high fibre or fatty. Stick to what you know.
Good luck, everyone's a winner!