What to eat when training
Running burns lots of calories. But this unfortunately does not give runners an open excuse to continually ‘run to the fridge’.
If you’re training for Cigna Round the Bays on February 19, then be mindful that over-eating can be a trap for some runners. We tend to think we can treat ourselves more often because we’ve put a few kilometres under the belt, but this can often result in our belts tightening.
So, how much fuel should we eat while training? It’s an individual thing and depends on things like your genetics, how many kilometres you do and what you eat. Here are some tips:
Eat real foods that are full of good nutrients, for example, stuff that grows in the ground, on trees or moves (avoid the latter if you are vegetarian, of course). Avoid highly processed foods, junk food and sugar-laden treats. Having a good diet will help with your energy levels for training.
Save your money on expensive energy drinks. Water will do just fine. Or if you love and crave sports drinks, try a healthy smoothie or perhaps coconut water.
If you are training for under an hour first thing in the morning, then you can fast before you run, but eat breakfast soon afterwards.
If you are a beginner runner and training for the shorter distance events, then all those fancy sports and energy gels, bars, protein shakes and lollies are not needed. A lot contain hidden sugar. If you feel you need snacks, try a bit of banana, or an orange, or a couple of dates or some minimally processed food.
If you need a snack before an afternoon run try something like a smoothie, nuts, fruit with peanut butter or some yoghurt and berries.
Think about your hunger cues. Don’t just eat for the sake of eating.