Pointers on proper nutrition before and after running

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BMO Vancouver Marathon

Attention runners and joggers! Looking for some advice on what to eat before and after workouts? Do you want to increase your speed, improve your performance and “sustain [yourself] for [a] race season, and [for] a lifetime of running?” Well, look no further! An Endurance Health Expert for Fitness in Vancouver has some suggestions.

Emma Cutfield’s advice includes the following:

  1. Replenish electrolytes for sustained energy and muscle function. Be mineral dense. With sweat loss, comes a lack of electrolytes, essential for muscle function and coordination. Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are four of your primary electrolytes, found naturally in leafy greens. Incorporate a large mixed greens salad as part of your daily foundation, and use extra greens in a blended recovery shake with frozen fruit and a protein source such as hemp seeds. Try supercharging your efforts, with seaweeds such as nori shredded as a garnish on your salads.
  2. Hydrate the day before. Plan ahead for longer training runs, or more intense sweat sessions this summer by hydrating not only the few hours before, but days before. When we increase our fluid intake, we often do so at a rapid rate causing us to use the washroom at an annoying pace. Allow for “bowel tolerance” by gradually increasing your fluid intake over several days, building up to a base of at least half your body weight in ounces. Rates of replenishment while running will vary depending on your fitness levels and body composition, but aim to consume ½ cup of fluids every 15-20 minutes along your run with a handheld water bottle or hip flask.
  3. Consider post-run nutrition as imperative to your results as the run itself. Post-run nutrition key driver for performance gains—replenish your system, repair muscle tissue, reduce inflammation, Refuel with a mini-meal or snack within 20 minutes of your run. Consume a blend of carbohydrates and protein (in a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein) to begin muscle tissue repair.
  4. Consume quality protein to boost strength and stamina. For runners, protein intake is of particular importance. If you don’t get enough high quality protein your body begins to break down muscle tissue – a detriment that’s contrary to making the strength gains you’re working so hard for.” However a poorly timed high protein meal can actually inhibit your endurance as protein consumed too close to a workout (think under 60 mins prior), requires additional energy from your kidney’s which need to be operating at full strength to properly regulate mineral and fluid balance. Save higher protein meals for 60mins+ post workout, and instead opt for carbohydrate based meals such as oatmeal, sprouted grain toast or a piece of fruit pre-workout.
  5. Sip on (Mock)tails. Freshly pressed or blended fruit and vegetable juices can be an easy way to increase mineral and fluid intake, for on-the-go convenience. While juice bar options can be priced as exclusively as the real happy hour bevvy, nutrient dense juices can easily be prepared at home with a blender and strainer. Choose a combination from below, and once blended thoroughly with water, strain off the pulp before serving. You can even mix the below with chilled herbal or green tea for an extra refreshing option.

    a. Cucumber (skin on), lime and coconut water
    b. Pineapple and fresh mint leaves
    c. Watermelon and 1 small beet (raw, diced)

About Emma:
Emma is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), speaker, writer, recipe developer and Educator with Vega. She shares her proactive health habits on her blog: The Hearty Heart. Emma is a running enthusiast – training for [more than] 15 races this season across North America! Local highlights include: BMO Vancouver Marathon, Scotiabank Half Marathon and the Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver.”

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Nagin Rezaiean General Columnist at Vancity Buzz.

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