For a healthy body, it is important to pair your workout with the right diet. Runners often cut down on carbs. The intake of carbohydrates is often associated with weight gain and waning performance. However, carbohydrates are, in fact, a key fuel source for runners. If the runner is preparing for a long run, then it becomes all the more important for the body to get hold of sufficient carbs. Carbs maintain the glycogen level in the liver; consequently increasing muscle endurance. They also help replenish energy after the race. If the body does not have enough carbs, then it will use protein and fat for energy. These sources are inefficient for runners because they are slow sources of energy.
However, this does not mean that, as a runner, you should load your body with all kinds of carbs. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is usually a good idea. But it is equally important to choose the right carbohydrates and know when to consume them at the right time. Just remember to go easy on the carbs before the run. A runner must plan their intake. Foods such as pasta need to be avoided on the race day because they make the body feel sluggish. A runner needs to increase his/her carbohydrate intake two or three days before the run to top up the reserves. Like fats, there are good carbs and bad carbs. Foods such as sweet potatoes and beetroot make a great pre-run vegetable, because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are excellent for health. Dried fruits make a great on-the-run snack that can be consumed. They are quickly absorbed by the body and help in replenishing lost energy. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn are good sources of carbs to be consumed post-run. Yoghurt also makes for a great post-run energy snack.
It is important to remember that excessive quantities of any amount of food are harmful to the body. A runner must be careful about his/her diet. Experiment with different carbs to find out what suits your body the best, and in what quantities. To run a long and invigorating run, fuel yourself with the right carbs at the right time.