After months of staying indoors, runners can finally breathe the fresh air during an early morning run. With the lockdown rules being eased and the hovering monsoon, most runners find themselves in a vulnerable position. They are excited to be back on the trail. Getting back into the groove of running, however, may not take more time than usual. This article will discuss the right diet plans to help you achieve your personal bests and enjoy those long runs with your favourite playlist bumping in the earphones.
As an amateur runner, the first goal before you even start your first 10 km run, is to prep your body with the right fuel. That’s why it’s necessary to pay extra attention to your diet right now so that you can get back on track at the earliest.
A balanced diet for runners should contain all the necessary nutrients required to pump energy into the muscles, stoke muscle development and recovery, and boost stamina. The aim of this article is to help runners design the perfect diet plan for getting their body back into shape.
With a few changes in your diet, you’ll be back to smashing personal running records quite soon.
Carbohydrates fuel your body during those scorching, long-distance runs. Without carbs, your muscles would starve leaving you exhausted mid-run. Your body breaks down the carbs into simple sugar molecules that can be easily absorbed into the muscle fibres and burnt for energy, instantly. Now you know why all those energy drinks and gels are packed with simple carbs and sugars.
While many treat fatty foods like the ultimate enemy, experts claim otherwise. Once the carbs are depleted, endurance runners require additional fuel to power their muscles. Your body’s stored fat is potentially the best resource. That’s the reason most long-distance runners are skinny. But fats may not be the best choice for a pre-run meal. Instead, they’re best consumed as part of your natural diet.
There are several fat-rich sources that are as healthy as their mouth-watering taste. Avocado, fish, red meat, butter, and oil contain just the perfect mix of all the different kinds of fat that your body needs. (Saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated) Fortunately, these items can be turned into delicious meals with a little creativity in the kitchen.
Protein is the body’s recovery agent – it heals your muscles and repairs all the wear and tear. A long-distance run can cause heavy damage to muscle fibres. But, a good dose of protein ensures that your muscles remain as good as new. Try and consume high-quality protein 20 minutes before a run. This will keep your muscles’ soreness at bay and aid faster recovery. A simple whey protein shake or a protein bar should be your go-to options.
Sore muscles are an instant mood-killer. Not only do they hamper your training, but they also adversely affect your rest. Adding a dash of veggies to your diet can help circumvent this problem. Berries, stone fruits, kale, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that will nourish your muscles and ease muscle soreness. But avoid eating them raw 72 to 48 hours before the run. They’re harder to digest and will slow down your energy level.
After a break of several months, only a good diet can rescue your peak running stats. A 3:2:1 ratio of carbs, fats, and protein can do wonders to your body. A balanced diet can directly translate into better running timings, more endurance, and lesser fatigue. So, it’s time to stock up on the right food items before you take that first post-lockdown run outside.