Runner’s diet – the most important rules. Sample menu for runners

Proper nutrition is important not only in the prevention or treatment of diet-related diseases, but also in the situation of undertaking a specific type of physical exercise, e.g. long-distance running. What should a runner’s diet look like? What should not be missing? Find out what its rules are and see a sample menu for runners.

Adequate supply of macronutrients and properly composed meals before and after training will certainly contribute to achieving better and better sports results. What should runners’ nutrition look like? What should be especially taken care of in order to provide the body with everything necessary during endurance exercise?
Runner’s diet – rules and energy requirements

Marathon, half-marathon, long-distance running – once practiced mainly in a professional nature, today also as a hobby. There is a growing interest in this type of physical activity, as well as in the possibility of providing the body with adequate amounts of energy and other necessary substrates. Many hours of effort are associated with a significantly increased energy demand, but also with an individual approach to the breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the diet. It is also a component of the well-being, the body’s needs and possible problems while exercising units, e.g. the famous runner’s diarrhea.

In order to determine the proper diet of a long-distance runner, it would certainly be best to seek the advice of an experienced sports nutritionist. Based on a carefully collected interview concerning, among others, the type of activity, the number of units, their duration, as well as health, well-being and diet, the specialist will select the appropriate recommendations for the required amount of energy and the share of individual macronutrients.

Among these guidelines, however, there is a certain standard which, although often modified within one specific player (for example, different rules will apply to training and other competition), is the basis of proper nutrition. These include: the regularity of eating meals, their variety and reaching for specially composed snacks or entire pre- and post-training meals, and in the case of long units or competitions – also those consumed during them.

Running on an empty stomach

Runners, as well as recreational people practicing other forms of sport, very often, due to their lifestyle and work, decide to train immediately after waking up, without having to eat any meal beforehand. Some of them also just feel better being active on an empty stomach. However, it should be remembered that in selected individuals this may prove dangerous due to the risk of hypoglycaemia. This condition can even lead to loss of consciousness. In addition, some specialists believe that running on an empty stomach causes a decrease in immunity, loss of muscle mass, and a greater risk of contracting an injury.
So if you don’t feel like having a full breakfast in the morning, why not take care of a small, quick snack that will give you energy without causing a feeling of heaviness?

Runner’s diet – what to eat before training?

It is recommended that the pre-workout meal contain an adequate amount of carbohydrates for energy and a protein supplement. The volume of the meal and the time of its consumption before starting activity are also important.

If we eat them about 2-3 hours before the run, they may be larger dishes consisting of complex carbohydrates, which will digest more slowly, and thus maintain a high level of energy and a sense of satiety for a longer time, e.g. porridge made of mountain oats, nuts and fruit, whole grain risotto with vegetables and fish, wholemeal pasta with turkey and tomato sauce or buckwheat with roasted chicken breast and salad.

In the case of a meal taken about 1 hour before the run, you should take care of the presence of rather simple carbohydrates, which will provide the necessary energy faster and will not overload the digestive tract with excess fiber. Such meals include: dried apricots, raisins, a cocktail, an energy bar, natural yoghurt with fruit, dates or rice cakes. A meal just before running training can also be a small sandwich made of pale bread with lean cheese or a small portion of warm soup with light noodles or rice.
The long-distance run also means the necessity to eat selected snacks during its duration. Consult your sports nutritionist for the best results. You can choose from many, specially composed for runners, e.g. energy gels.

Runner’s diet – what to eat after training?

After finishing the run, the meal should mainly consist of carbohydrates that will quickly replenish the deficiencies of muscle glycogen and protein that will regenerate damaged muscle fibers faster. Some experts believe that the optimal amount of protein in a post-workout meal is at least 25 g of animal protein or 35 g of vegetable protein.

It is recommended to eat a meal after the race within 2 consecutive hours. For example, a fruit cocktail based on yoghurt or milk, a tortilla with a high-protein addition (e.g. tuna, chicken), a vegetable stew based on legumes or wholemeal pancakes with cottage cheese will be perfect.
Runner’s diet – what to eat on non-training days?

Depending on the plan developed with a sports nutritionist, the proportion of energy supplied may be lower on non-training days. Still, you should take care of eating meals regularly and properly composing them, not forgetting about providing proteins, fats, carbohydrates, as well as antioxidant vitamins and other antioxidants that will allow the body to regenerate. Such products include mainly vegetables and fruits of various colors, as well as nuts and vegetable oils. You must not forget about adequate hydration – about 30 ml for every kilogram of body weight. The minimum consumption is 1.5–2 liters, including soups and juicy fruit.

Sample menu for runners

Breakfast: banana fritters.

Mash the ripe banana with a fork. In a bowl, mix together the milk, egg, oatmeal, cottage cheese, xylitol and previously crushed bananas. You can sprinkle your favorite dried fruit into the dough. Fry small pancakes in hot oil and serve with peanut butter and strawberries.

2nd breakfast: salad with baked sweet potato, pomegranate and chickpeas.

Peel and dice sweet potatoes, season and pour olive oil. Put in the oven on a baking sheet lined with baking paper for 100 minutes and bake at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. Toss the rocket, baked sweet potatoes, canned chickpeas, chopped cherry tomatoes, roasted sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds into a bowl. Pour olive oil over it and season.

3rd breakfast: cocktail on kefir with fruit.

Pour the kefir into the blender bowl, add the nuts, strawberries and oatmeal. Blend everything.

Lunch: spaghetti with beef, red beans and olives.

Season the minced beef meat and fry it in a pan together with the diced onion. Then add chopped tomatoes or tomato passata. Cook the noodles. Add the beans and olives to the sauce. Eat the prepared sauce with the pasta.

Snack: Rice Wafers with Peanut Butter and Banana.

Brush the rice cakes with peanut butter and place the sliced ​​banana.

Dinner: scrambled eggs with chives, cherry tomatoes and graham bread.

Fry the eggs in a pan together with the onion, add the diced tomatoes and sprinkle with chives. Eat with bread.
Rules for runners

Chicken with lentils and vegetables

Rinse the lentils, cover with water and cook. Cut vegetables into strips: carrots, parsley, celery and leek in a pan. Then add the diced chicken, season and fry until tender. Add the cooked red lentils to the whole, gently sprinkle it with water and stew for a while. Sprinkle everything with parsley.

Oat bars with apples and cinnamon

Put the sliced ​​and cooked apples, oatmeal, egg white, xylitol, cranberries, a little milk and cinnamon into a bowl and mix everything together. Pour the mass into a baking pan and bake at 200 degrees for about 15 minutes. After it has cooled down, cut the resulting cake into rectangles.

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