Nutrition. For any type of physical training such as a marathon or half marathon it requires that we pay attention to nutrition - even those of us who have weight loss as one of the motives. Food should not be viewed as an enemy that causes weight gain. Rather, it is the fuel that propels our training and helps to repair our sore muscles after a training run so that we’re ready for the next run. The key for endurance athletes is to get the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, & fat in their diet. Keep in mind that although it varies from person to person depending on weight, speed & metabolism, we burn about 100 calories per mile running. Each of us has our own dietary needs. This information should be considered general guidelines and not prescriptions for individuals. Your doctor is always one of the best resources for you. It is important that we maintain a complete and balanced diet. That means we have to get enough of all the important food groups.
Carbohydrates – The energy that we burn when we run comes mostly from carbohydrates. For most endurance athletes’ carbs are essential for energy at higher intensity levels of exercise. Sports nutritionists often recommend that 40%-65% of our calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. Having adequate carbohydrate stores allow for greater blood sugar regulation, preventing early exercise fatigue. Carbohydrates are classified by their “glycemic index”. The higher the glycemix index, the quicker the carbohydrate is converted to sugar and sent into the blood stream. Most energy bars and sports drinks are high glycemic, perfect for before, during and after a workout. High glycemic carbs should be eaten after workouts to replace valuable stores lost during exercise. The rest of the time, you should be eating low to moderate glycemic carbs, which offer the “slow-burn” your body needs throughout the day. But be careful because all carbohydrates are not created equal. Eating a diet extremely high in carbohydrates can add extra pounds, so be careful not to overdo it. We want to eat complex carbohydrates, those found in whole grains & unprocessed foods. Brown rice, whole wheat pastas, whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals, potatoes, sweet potatoes and beans are great sources of complex carbohydrates.
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Our Training Tips are written by our Raw Threads Club Troop Counselor, Jo Roberts.
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