Without proper nutrition, performance will suffer.
When it comes to running; form, correct muscle activation, proper footwear, and technique all play a significant role. However, the most critical part – fueling your runs, is often times overlooked. This does not mean you need to eat bowls of pasta before a run nor does it mean running gives you a license to eat whatever you want. What it means, is food can be tweaked to help you get the most out of your runs, while still staying or getting lean.
Plan your run and run your plan.
This involves BOTH fitness and nutrition together. Nutrition for fat loss needs to be modified if you are planning to do long distance running or run an event, such as a marathon. Proper nutrition will play a huge role in your training and race results. The best advice I can give anyone when it comes to training to run a longer distance is not to push too hard, too fast. Focus on getting faster, not just the distance. Whether you are training for a marathon or looking to lose 40 lbs and get healthy, follow the tips below so you can reach your running and fitness goals.
Longer distances do not mean you can eat whatever you want!
Your primary goal is to make sure that your diet allows you to maintain a strong and healthy body. When training hard for longer distances, taking shortcuts because you think you’ll make up for it through longer training sessions will absolutely lead to negative results. Consider wearing a heart rate monitor so that you have a better idea of how many calories you’re actually burning during your runs. And then on the flip side…
A marathon is NOT your key to hitting your weight loss goals!
If you restrict your caloric intake and lose 1 pound a week with 30 minutes of running daily, it would make sense that you could potentially lose more weight at a faster rate by increasing mileage and keeping calories low, right? Wrong. The body does not work like that for very long, and it’s not a sustainable plan and your performance (and health) will suffer. You may find yourself increasingly fatigued as your body fights to keep up. You may also find yourself actually gaining weight, as your body fights to hold onto calories and keep up with your training plan. The key is to find the right balance and don’t try to ‘rush’ things.
Stick with the plan, just change the balance.
The advice I give out on a daily basis applies ten-fold if you’re training for a marathon. Staying hydrated will not only prevent false hunger and fatigue, it will help prevent muscle fatigue and cramps during training. Foods high in saturated fat and low-quality or processed carbohydrates should be avoided (if not eliminated altogether), and you should continue to consume caffeine and alcohol in moderation.
Keep in mind that complex carbohydrates (such as oatmeal, brown rice , quinoa and yams) will keep blood sugars level and feed your system over an extended training session, lean proteins will help rebuild muscle tissue that’s been broken down through long training sessions, and healthy fats are both a fuel source and a source of cell repair.
While you may have been consuming a higher ratio of protein versus carbohydrates up to this point, you might need to change that ratio slightly to incorporate higher levels of carbohydrates as your mileage increases and you are laser focused on performance. Again, this will apply mostly to those athletes that are at their ideal body weight, and not people looking to lose body fat.
When in doubt, consult other reliable running resources!
What do you think I do when I’m trying to find answers and I’m in unfamiliar territory? I start asking the experts and successful people around me. If your plan isn’t working, don’t sit on it hoping that things will get better…it typically won’t get better on its own. To make a change you need someone to help you identify where you might be making mistakes. An easy online go-to that’s specifically for runners is Runner’s World Magazine (www.runnersworld.com).
Consult multiple sources and be open-minded to trying something different. But ultimately, it’s about prioritizing your goals. Is it about running a strong marathon, or is it about losing weight and getting in shape? They WILL go hand-in-hand if you’re patient and keep your body healthy and strong.
About Natalie Jill
Natalie Jill helps people across the globe reach their health, fitness, life and business goals. Natalie is a well known Licensed Sports Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer who was diagnosed as having Celiac Sprue over 12 years ago, and that is why she specializes in weight loss consulting and helping people with food allergies and intolerance’s. Learn how Natalie handled adversity and find out how she "made her own luck". Ready to change your life today? Start by CLICKING HERE.