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Peak Performance Nutrition for Runners


· Athletes should consume 60-70% of their calories from carbohydrates. Filling your glycogen stores by eating carbohydrate-rich foods is essential before hitting the pavement. Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, potatoes and whole grain cereal provide the most nutrients along with energy. Try to avoid eating too many refined or high sugar foods such as snack foods, doughnuts, cookies, and other desserts. These are typically high in fat and provide little nutrients. · Eating breakfast will help ensure that you don’t dig yourself into a hole early. Starting off with a stable blood sugar extends your muscle glycogen stores, eliminates hunger pains, and helps keep your head in the game. · To make sure they are getting enough carbohydrates, they should eat carbohydrate rich foods at meals and snacks. · Consume 0.5 gram of protein per pound of body weight. The protein intake of most teenagers exceeds this amount. Protein adds in growth as well as muscle repair, which is important for an athlete. · Fat intake should be limited to 20-30% of the diet. · Liquid meals (Ensure or Boost) empty faster from the stomach than solid meals and prevent nausea. · My Fitness Pal App Hydrate before, during and after you exercise. · First, drink adequate fluids on a daily basis, 2-3 liters minimum. You know you are well hydrated if you are urinating frequently and it is pale in color. · Drink a 16 oz - 20 oz of fluid prior to the workout. 7-10 oz every 15-20 minutes during exercise, under normal conditions. After the workout, drink 16-20 oz for every pound that you lost. Pre Run · Eat a breakfast full of carbohydrates. · When you wake up in the morning you are in a fasted state due to your body’s utilization of stored glucose while you sleep. By eating a pre exercise meal you are topping off the “tank”, essentially making sure your stored energy levels are full. · What time you eat your pre exercise meal needs to be individualized to your tolerances and training or competition schedule. · NEVER TRY SOMETHING NEW ON RACE DAY! During Run · Consume 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during exercise lasting longer than 90 minutes. · Consume the carbohydrates starting at 1 hour and continue in 30 minute increments. · Products such as sports gels, sports beans, sports chews and fluid replacement beverages such as Gatorade or Powerade Post Run · Because muscle glycogen storage is slightly enhanced two hours after exercise try to eat within the first 30 minutes after the race (90 minutes or longer). It is recommended to consume 0.5 – 0.7 g of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. In addition, eat 6-20 grams of protein. · A recovery beverage containing 50-100 grams of carbs per 16 oz. Some products provide up to 25 grams of protein. Chocolate milk is a great choice.

Research from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland suggest that adding cherry juice to your diet can enhance recovery. Other good post exercise foods include: Smoothie combining milk, yogurt or soy milk with fresh or frozen fruit; Yogurt with juice or a granola bar; Cereal with milk and fruit Turkey sandwich; Slice of veggie pizza

Carbohydrate Loading: Carbohydrate loading is beneficial for athletes competing for 2 hours or more. It should be initiated at least one week in advance of the competition. Your protein and fat intake should stay the same except for the last 2-3 days. They will be decreased at this time to allow for adequate digestion. It takes 48-72 hours for food to leave our bodies. You may have to alter the amount of carbohydrates that you load depending on your current carbohydrate consumption and the duration of your race. Slowly decrease the amount of fiber eaten to prepare for the race day. Do this by decreasing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and energy bars. Decrease the amount of spicy food 2-3 days before the race.


Best Carbohydrate Sources: Fuel Vegetables (1/2 c. cooked, 1 c. raw) Mixed beans (1/2 c. cooked) Fruits (1 piece, 1 cup, ¼ c. dried) Oatmeal/Oat bran ( ½ c. cooked) Whole grain bread (1 slice) Yams (1/2 c.) Best Protein Sources: Growth and Repair Fish: salmon, tuna, and cod Eggs (mostly whites) Chicken breast Low fat cottage cheese Milk protein isolates (whey- casein blends) Beef (round and loin cuts)


Best Fat Sources:

Flaxseed oil or meal

EPA/DHA (salmon, mackerel)

Olive oil

Mixed nuts

Beef/chicken/egg


1-Minute Breakfast Ideas

· Ready to eat cereal (5 grams of fiber or more) topped with blueberries and skim milk

· 6 oz container of light yogurt and a piece of fruit

· Peanut butter on whole wheat toast and skim milk

· Instant oatmeal with skim milk

· Toasted whole wheat waffle topped with peanut butter and a banana

· Fresh fruit and string cheese

· 1/2 toasted bagel with peanut butter

· Cottage cheese and fruit

· Lean ham on a toasted English muffin and a piece of fruit


Eat Small Meals throughout the Day (every 3-4 hours)
High Performance Snacks

6 oz. 2% yogurt and 1 cup of fruit

2 pieces string cheese and apple

½ c. 2% cottage cheese and 1 c. of berries

Banana with 1-2 Tbsp. of peanut butter

Bars- Luna, Think!, Zone, Pure Protein

Handful of nuts (closed) and a piece of fruit


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