Running attracts with its accessibility and versatility; for many, it becomes an integral part of life. Sooner or later, most athletes actively involved in running think about improving their performance. This goal can be achieved with a properly formulated diet. Today, the range of sports nutrition for running is very diverse, so understanding supplements can take time and effort for beginners and experienced athletes. In this article, you will learn about the basic nutrition rules for runners and useful sports supplements.
The load on the body while running
Running is an energy-intensive sport that increases the overall endurance of the body. The load during running increases the heart rate, causes vibration of the internal organs, and contributes to rapid energy consumption. Running allows you to strengthen the musculoskeletal system and makes almost all muscle groups work, especially the muscles of the legs, buttocks, thighs, abs, and cortex.
A significant load when running falls on the heart muscle, so running is an excellent cardio workout. Regular jogging trains the heart, gradually reducing the heart rate. Thanks to this, the runners’ heart muscle begins to work more economically.
However, for all its positive aspects, running creates a load on the spine, knee joints, and shins. The degree of load depends on the intensity and duration of the run, as well as on the weight of the runner. For this reason, people who want to lose extra pounds by running should exercise extreme caution and, ideally, start training under the guidance of a competent trainer.
How to Minimize Stress with Running Nutrition and Supplements
Nutrition provides the athlete’s body with building material, thanks to which new tissues are created, and damage is repaired. Nutrition determines the speed with which the body recovers after exercise. The faster the recovery processes, the stronger and more resilient the body becomes. Nutrition for runners should be balanced and nutritious. The athlete must include a sufficient amount of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in the diet and adhere to the rules of nutrition before and after training.
Proper nutrition before a run
Eating before a race directly affects the quality of your workout. Therefore, professionals recommend paying attention to the food that is quickly digested and saturated with carbohydrates:
- cereal dishes (oatmeal, buckwheat, rice);
- dried or fresh fruits;
- baking from whole grain flour;
- milk and fruit cocktails.
A full meal should occur two hours before the race. This is a very important rule because undigested food will interfere with effective training. If a full-fledged meal is not successful, and hunger does not allow you to focus on sports, then half an hour before a run, you can “refuel” with fast carbohydrates – a banana, yogurt, smoothies, or an energy bar. It is worth remembering that liquid food is absorbed better and faster than solid food.
It is very important not to start your morning run on an empty stomach because the glycogen stores in the liver are used up overnight. This will cause you to run out of steam even at a short distance. If there is no time for a full breakfast, recharge your body with a snack with fast carbohydrates that will provide the body with energy.
Nutrition after a run
After training, food should be nutritious and include proteins, valuable fats, and carbohydrates. The main task of post-workout nutrition is to help the body quickly restore the expended energy.
The menu is made up of the following products:
- meat dishes;
- porridge or pasta;
- cottage cheese, yogurt;
The question of how long after the end of the race you can start eating is of interest to every novice runner. The answer depends on the specific goals. If the athlete’s goal is to build muscle mass, you can start a full meal as early as 15 minutes after the end of the workout. If the race is made to lose weight or general improvement of the body, then you can eat after 45-60 minutes.
After an intense run, the body accelerates the absorption of useful components, trying to quickly replenish the spent resources. The “protein-carbohydrate window” opens at this time, so taking protein and simple carbohydrates will help you recover faster after a workout. A protein-carbohydrate shake, banana, or whey protein is good as a quick snack.
What supplements are good for active runners
Unfortunately, not all the necessary substances the body can get from food. This is especially true for athletes or people leading an active lifestyle. In this case, sports supplements for runners come to the rescue. The funds have proven effectiveness, are not related to pharmaceutical drugs, and are not doping.
The substance transports fatty acids to the mitochondria of cells, where they are burned. Most often, L-carnitine is used for weight loss, but it is also useful for runners. Typically, this supplement is used over long distances to improve endurance.
During running, L-carnitine supplies the muscles with the necessary energy and improves performance by increasing overall endurance. In addition, the substance has an anabolic effect and supports the heart and blood vessels. The supplement promotes rapid recovery and reduces inflammation in the muscles. L-carnitine is not recommended for frequent use, as the body quickly gets used to it and stops producing this component on its own.
scitec nutrition 100 whey protein supplements are especially relevant for professional athletes and those who train more than 20 hours a week. Proteins help build new muscles, provide stable immunity, and are also involved in the formation of the neurotransmitter serotonin. In the process of running, the proteins of the muscles of the runners are inevitably damaged, and this is a completely physiological phenomenon. The athlete needs a daily portion of protein at 1-1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight to recover.
A lot of protein supplements are included in the diet of sprinters, as protein helps build muscle in the legs and increases endurance. Supplemental protein is also needed if a runner needs to adjust body weight or build muscle. If you’re running for weight loss, it’s important to replenish your protein stores, so consume protein immediately after your workout. A protein supplement should be taken immediately before a run to strengthen muscles.
Isotonics are special drinks that restore the water-salt balance. They occupy a special niche in the diet of those involved in endurance sports. Drinks restore mineral balance, necessary for transmitting nerve impulses to cells.
Three reasons why you need isotonic for running :
loss of only 2% moisture reduces productivity by 20%;
fluid deficiency thickens the blood, increasing the load on the cardiovascular system;
with active sweating, electrolytes are excreted, which impairs muscle function and causes cramps.
Drinks consist of a water base, carbohydrates, salts, and minerals. Isotonics are usually drunk in small portions from the beginning of the workout and after it – until the thirst is completely quenched. The concentration of the drink is determined by weather conditions and the individual characteristics of the athlete’s body. Isotonics can be bought as a ready-made liquid or powder for making a drink, and you can also make it yourself at home.
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are components vital for the stable functioning of the body. The need for athletes for these substances is increasing, especially among long-distance runners. Studies have shown that taking vitamins E and C in athletes significantly reduces markers of muscle damage in the blood.
Beneficial vitamins for runners include:
magnesium – is involved in the conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contractions, a symptom of deficiency is muscle cramps;
selenium – is an antioxidant that reduces signs of catabolism;
zinc – is necessary for energy metabolism, strong immunity, and suppression of recovery processes.
It is also important for runners to control the iron level in their blood, especially for women. Due to high loads, iron deficiency is quite real for athletes. Iron deficiency causes anemia, a condition in which athletic performance drops, and a serious deterioration in well-being.
Amino acids promote muscle recovery and increase endurance. The most common complex of amino acids is BCAA. This sports nutrition for running consists of three essential amino acids – isoleucine, leucine, and valine, which predominate in the composition of muscles. Amino acids improve metabolic processes in the body and increase strength and are also one of the additional sources of protein.
All regularly trained athletes need essential amino acids. For runners, taking amino acids helps protect muscles from destruction, relieves fatigue, and makes it much easier to endure stress. Amino acids help fight physical and psychological fatigue while running and stimulate performance during heat training or competitions.
Energy supplements are high in fast carbohydrates and can be supplemented with taurine or caffeine for a stimulating effect. The effect of energy drinks is quite well expressed in endurance sports. They have an ergogenic effect, improving physical performance. Sports energy will help you quickly overcome the running distance and reduce the intensity of muscle pain. Also, energy supplements will help maintain concentration on the descent and not lose pace when tired.
Energy gels are based on a “cocktail” of fast and slow carbohydrates. Sometimes they are supplemented with electrolytes, allowing the gels to perform the isotonic function. Supplements stimulate lipid metabolism, helping the body obtain energy from fat.