I did it! I joined a distance running group, trained 4 months, and ran 2 half-marathons in 2 weeks. I had a blast, and made some new friends that enjoy running, like me!
I want to share what I did nutritionally to FUEL my runs and muscles, which resulted in dropping a few pounds of body-fat during my training, and beating my time goal on my very first race.
As a nutritionist, I see a lot of runners / exercisers doing a combination of the following:
- Under-eating/dieting and feeling sluggish and fatigued on training days. Restricting calories to a number too low to sustain their activity level.
- Over-eating because you think you can eat more because you are running. Running 35 miles a week at a 10-minute pace burns approximately 3,500 calories. This is ONE POUND of weight loss. That’s how HARD you have to work, and why eating too much will sabotage all your hard work with running.
- Making horrible food choices — you can’t eat whatever you want just because you are running a lot.
- Not doing light resistance training or stretching consistently.
- Over-training, not taking the time to recover properly.
Here are some tips to improve your running, and lower your body fat as a bonus!
- Get a body-fat/LBM test done. Inbody or Hydrostatic weighing are the most accurate. Do not rely on a home scale version or calipers. We have an Inbody machine at Local Health Market, and Lifetime Fitness also has the machine. If you are out of the San Antonio area, google it and find a place that can do this test for you.
- Start eating 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Try to spread your protein grams out to 4-5 times a day — 3 meals and 1-2 snacks. It’s a lot easier if you do 1-2 protein shakes a day, and this will balance your blood sugar and reduce carb cravings. I do a shake after exercise in the morning, and one at night before I go to bed. I sleep a even better when I do a nightly shake. Click here to learn how to make a fast, 3-minute, clean, low sugar, whey protein shake.
- Get at least 4 cups of vegetables a day. I shoot for 2-3 cups at both lunch and dinner.
- Take a greens powder daily. This is nature’s multivitamin. It’s the secret sauce to reducing inflammation, and fueling your blood with oxygen. Click here to watch a short video about how to incorporate a green drink into your routine daily.
- Have a banana or banana bites and a protein shake RIGHT after you run. Bring them with you so you are prepared when you finish up your run.
6. Cross-train with slow-burning resistance training 2 days a week. These can be short, 30-minute workouts — one upper body and one lower. MAKE SURE you have at least one day of rest after a leg workout before running again.
7. Stretch 1-2 times a week for 20 minutes. I love YouTube yoga videos so I don’t have to take the time to drive to a class.
8. Get to bed. You need at least 7 hours of sleep to have a good run, and not be dragging all day. So if you run at 5 a.m., lights out at 9 p.m.!
Fueling your workouts with good nutrition makes them ENJOYABLE and FUN to exercise. Not eating right makes you feel sluggish, frustrated with not reaching goals of losing weight and/or body-fat, and increases your chances of injuries.
I hope these tips helped you — RUN ON!
Feel free to send me an email if you have further questions, or would like some help improving your nutrition for running. firstname.lastname@example.org.