To improve as a runner, increasing your weekly mileage to the level of an elite is not enough.
An elite runner is able to maintain their demanding training schedules and continue to improve because they constantly monitor their nutrition, diet, and recovery.
Focusing on these things correctly will give the body the tools it needs to recover after a demanding training session, develop lean muscle mass and avoid injury.
Below we have outlined 5 top nutritional tips to help you improve your running.
Eat blueberries and raspberries
Both blueberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants, and the specific antioxidants found in these berries have proven to boost the brain’s sensitivity to a hormone that regulates your metabolic rate and insulin, called leptin.
Both berries are also high in fibre which will help improve your digestive health, so you are able to extract nutrients from food more effectively while still looking after your intestines.
Get your iron
One of the main roles of iron is to help our red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body. It can be quite common for non meat eaters and female athletes to be deficient in iron, which could increase your risk of injury. If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Iron is found in food in two forms, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is well absorbed by the body and makes up 40 percent of the iron found in meat and fish. Whereas non-heme iron is less well absorbed and accounts for 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts.
So for vegans and vegetarians, it is especially important to practice techniques that will increase the body’s absorption of iron, such as eating foods containing vitamin C along with foods containing iron.
For non meat eaters, beans and dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of iron, and even better on a per calorie basis than meat. So be sure to include plenty of iron-packed foods such as spinach, lentils, broccoli, flaxseed and oatmeal into your meals.
Drink water and stay hydrated
It can’t be stressed enough, stay hydrated. Our bodies muscles are made of up approximately 80 percent water and even a slight change in the body’s water levels can negatively affect performance and recovery. If exercising for more than 60 minutes, switch to an isotonic sports drink that as well as keeping you hydrated will help replace lost electrolytes and carbohydrates.
Almonds offer the most protein, calcium, vitamin E, and niacin than any other tree nut, and the form of vitamin E found in almonds is one of the highest antioxidants. Additionally, almonds contain healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre, making them good for your heart.
Quinoa is high in protein, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, magnesium and is packed with all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Especially relevant to non meat eaters, adding this protein-packed grain to your diet will ensure you get enough protein throughout the day or after your training.