How Your Diet Affects Running Performance
Many people have the belief that they can eat whatever they desire as long as they run it off. As much as we would like this to be true, it’s not. If you are training for a marathon or even your neighborhood 5k, you know that you will have to improve your stamina and increase your mileage over time. What you probably did’t think of was how the food you eat effects how you perform on a run. Having an unhealthy diet can dramatically decrease progress.
Bad Diet = Slow Recovery
As a runner, it is extremely important to undergo a speedy recovery to hit the trails again the next day. After a run, and generally any workout, your body goes through several recovery stages. The most common of them is loss of fluids, or dehydration. Water is a huge part of a healthy diet. It is known as the most natural detox. However, to re-hydrate, water isn’t quite enough. Like I went over in my What Should Runners Eat? post, when you sweat, you lose electrolytes. “Important electrolytes are lost in sweat during exercise, including sodium and potassium”(Medical News Today). If you continue drinking your soda or any other sugary beverage like you do on a daily basis, you won’t be able to replace the lost electrolytes. In order to achieve re-hydration, I strongly suggest pickles. Pickles have both sodium and potassium (the lost electrolytes).
Another recovery process is protein synthesis. After a run, you may feel soreness in your body. This is because when you run or do any other type of workout, your muscle fibers are being torn. Don’t worry, this is not a bad thing, as long as you allow proper recovery, which includes what you eat. During protein synthesis, your muscles are looking for food to “eat”. Sadly, the food that they are looking for is not something like a big bowl of ice cream. What they are looking for is protein. Your muscles’ favorite type of protein is good ol’ fashion meat. This does not mean to drive to the nearest McDonald’s or Burger King and scarf down a Big Mac or a Whopper. It is essential to get good quality, organic, pesticide free, meet. This will help you live a longer, healthier life. Just take a look at this article to see what I mean.
Good Diet = Energy
Another job that food takes part in is fueling your body. The human body isn’t all that different from a car. You wouldn’t put diesel in a gasoline engine, right? So why put unhealthy food in your body? Having a bad diet will make you feel sluggish and slow to get started. This is the exact opposite of what we want in running. It is crucial to eat food that energizes your body. You need to eat the proper amount of healthy carbs, fat, protein, and sugar. This does not mean you can just go crazy and pig out on junk food. You need to eat healthy carbs, such as, potatoes. A good source of fat is avocado. For protein, fish is best. And for sugar, a nice ripe banana. For more food that gives energy, check out my What Should Runners Eat? post
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