Want to Race Well? Eat Well
Wow, cleaning up my diet really made my race performance suffer- said no athlete ever. So then why don’t we all do just that? Clean up the diet? Because even with that statement being so simple, putting it in practice can feel so complex. Among all the different diets and theories about what is healthy eating, it is easy to be confused on what is the best path to take. To help simplify and cut through all the clutter, I’ve put together three simple pointers that are tested, tried, and true to help you run strong during training and reach that next race PR. Eating foods full of micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc) is crucial so that our cells can get the material they need to perform optimally, and in turn, our bodies can train hard, recover quickly and race like a champion.
- Eat Your Veggies – no matter who you talk to, vegetables are an essential element in any healthy diet. Eat them a variety of ways, both cooked and uncooked as it changes the availability of nutrients (for example you will absorb higher levels of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron eating cooked spinach while eating it uncooked makes folate, vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium more available to our bodies). A deliberate focus on dark, leafy, green vegetables like spinach, swiss chard and kale can be a great place to start. However, let’s not forget all the other amazing vegetables, and do our best to incorporate those in the diet too. Carrots, eggplant, beets, and cauliflower, just to name a few, all have amazing nutrient profiles that will help make you a lean running machine and definitely have a place in your daily diet.
- Stay hydrated. This means drinking water, AND getting enough electrolytes. Water and electrolytes work together in the body, moving fluids in and out of the cell. You need both in order for this to happen efficiently, and if you’re running for long distances, then you are losing both water and electrolytes. One of the easiest and (tasiest!) ways to stay hydrated during training and racing is to incorporate high quality soups and broths into your diet, as they will deliver both water and electrolytes to your cells. Check out this link https://www.nextlevelnutrition.fitness/ultimate-recovery-soup/ for one of my fave recipes that incorporates both broth and a healthy dose of vegetables.
- Limit alcohol consumption – want to be a svelte and well-toned running machine? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but then the alcohol consumption needs to be kept to a minimum. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine, but we have to remember, alcohol contains calories (7 kcalories per gram), but it’s not much of a nutrient since as it cannot support the body’s growth, maintenance, or repair, which are all crucial during training.
You don’t need to be a world class athlete to achieve personal milestones, but you do need a solid foundation of nutrition, hard work and proper rest. Happy running