Running fuel

Running fuel

The day before:

Drink up – The rule of thumb for meeting your body’s ideal hydration level is to divide your weight in pounds by two. For example, a 140lb woman (10 stone) should drink roughly 70 ounces of water, or nine cups.

If your run is going to be longer than 10k, it is important to take in extra electrolytes. When you sweat, you lose minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. Add some lemon and sea salt to your water to give your body a boost.

Eat up – Generally speaking, the longer you run, the more carbohydrates you will need. If a race lasts 90 minutes or longer, you may need to increase your carbohydrate intake to 60 to 70 per cent of your total calories – start this three days before. It is also advised that you spread the carbs throughout the day, don’t leave it all for dinner.

Race day:

Wake up – Be sure to drink around half a litre of water when you wake up to rehydrate you.

One or two hours before – Eat a light meal (180 to 300 calories) with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. This could include a smoothie with frozen fruit, two slices of toast with peanut butter or Greek yoghurt with strawberries.

15 minutes before – Try to drink another 500ml liquid. If the run is due to last less than an hour, stick to water.

Finish line – Try to have a snack or a drink that contains roughly 20g protein and is high in carbohydrates as soon as possible. To jump-start the body’s recovery, it is best to take in something soon after finishing to rehydrate the muscles and stimulate muscle repair.

Afterwards – Continue to rehydrate with water. To test your hydration levels, take the urine test. Your urine should be pale in colour, if it is too dark, keep drinking! If you sweat a lot, you can replenish any lost sodium by eating a handful of salty food, such as pretzels or salted nuts.

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Ellen Hoggard

Written by Ellen Hoggard

Ellen is the Content Manager for Memiah and writer for Nutritionist Resource and Happiful magazine.
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