6 nutrition tips for runners

What food does your body need to fuel your running training?When you’re training for a race, you need to give your body the fuel it needs.

There’s all sorts of weird and wonderful diet advice out there. From low-carb to high-fat, it can be confusing and contradictory at times.

Follow these 6 golden rules on nutrition to aid training and racing success. 

1. Carbs are king

This advice still stands. Quality carbohydrates are still your fuel of choice. Good sources of carbohydrate are bananas, brown rice, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes and isotonic drinks.

Avoid high-sugar convenience foods as they will spike your blood sugar levels.                

2. Protein power

Protein helps your muscles recover and adapt to the hard miles you put in during training. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, nuts, beans and pulses.

3. Eat your greens

We gain most of our micronutrients from plants. Eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables over the course of the day will keep you healthy – and away from the biscuit tin!

4. Vitamins are often overhyped

Avoid high doses of multivitamins as they can lower your adaptation to training. The only exception is if you have a cold. If so, vitamin C and zinc will boost your immune system.

5. Fuel appropriately

If it's an easy jog over a couple of miles, keep your food intake light. For long runs, eat more beforehand but leave enough time so you’re not running on an uncomfortable stomach. Experiment during training and find out what works for you.

6. Practice makes perfect

Don't try anything new on race day. Use a practice run to work out your fuelling strategies for racing. Stick to no more than 240kcal from carbohydrates or 2-3 gels per hour. That’s all your body can absorb.