DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified nutritionist nor do I have a degree in sports medicine. I read a lot (thank you Runner’s World) and I have racing experience. All of the opinions and advice expressed in this article are not to be taken in place of professional medical opinion.
Phew, now that we got that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk running and eating. This week, I handed my boyfriend Dean Karnazes’ “Ultra Marathon Man.” When I was training for my marathon last summer, I read all of his books. He’s truly inspirational and just reading each page makes you want to go out for a run. His words “just put one foot in front of the other” got me through the 2012 Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, CA last October.
In this book, he eats a full pizza and dessert while running. Crazy! What’s important for runners is to eat the right food to fuel and recover our muscles. Of course, what and how much we eat depends on factors such as how long we’re running for, our VO2 max, resting heart rates and the day. Regardless, it’s crucial for competitive runners to keep fit. The lighter we are, the faster we run. Look at marathon winners and competitive Olympic runners – they’re pretty thin! A common mistake runners make is eating too much of the wrong thing after a long run and they “undo” the calorie burn and don’t refuel their muscles properly.
Inspiralized pasta has a place in the diet of a runner. If you’re Dean Karnazes and you’re running 50 marathons in 50 days, you can eat all the damn white pasta you want. BUT, if you’re training for a 10k, a half marathon or even a marathon, Inspiralized pasta can help you stay fit while providing your body the ability to recover and the strength to keep running.
Of course, the night before a race or long run (over 8-10 miles), you’ll need to carb load. During my marathon training, I would do my long runs on Saturday mornings, doing loops around Central Park or running half the perimeter of Manhattan. Every Friday evening, my boyfriend and I would go out to dinner and rest assured, I would enjoy that bread basket. In order to last during a long run, our bodies need to build up glycogen in our muscles and liver. Glycogen is our body’s most easily accessible form of energy. How do we do that? Eat carbs.
If it’s not the night before a race, try these suggested dishes to keep trim while training for your race and recover your muscles properly. Remember, the lighter the faster!
- Zucchini pasta with salmon: The salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that help balance the body’s inflammation response, crucial for muscle recovery. My recipe contains Greek Yogurt, which contains live cultures containing bacteria that aid as an anti-inflammatory.
- Avocado Lime Cilantro Pasta Salad: This dish is loaded with the black beans, a low glycemic index (GI) food, meaning the carbs in them are released slowly into the body. These types of foods can help control blood sugar levels and may enhance performance because of their steady release of energy. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants – like the chopped onions in this pasta salad. Also, many runners avoid avocados because of their high fat content, but they’re heart healthy fats.
- Sesame Ginger Peanut Noodles: These low-cal noodles are slathered in peanut butter, which is full of fat, protein, and fiber, providing a slow, sustained release of energy. Protein of course is the primary building block in muscle growth and helps speed muscle recovery. Plus, this dish contains kale which packs lots of vitamins A, C, and K. Even more, these noodles are topped with almonds – Runner’s World recommends runners eat a handful of almonds 3-5 times a week, since they’re a powerful source of Vitamin E, which lowers circulating cholesterol levels and helps prevent heart disease.
Stick to some of these tips and I assure you, you’ll be fitter and faster in no-time! Keep informed on proper nutrition for running by visiting RunnersWorld.com – they have great updates and information to keep you motivated and empowered during your training.