Posts tagged ‘sample meal plan for runners’

Fueling your sport: distance running

Expert advice from Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD Registered Dietitian and Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics

Fueling your sport

1.    Nutrition is a key factor in endurance sports and is just as important as a good training regimen. The number of calories you need for running depends on a number of factors: your body weight, how fast you run, how long you run, and your training frequency. A recreational runner will have very different calorie needs than a competitive runner who logs 100 miles per week while training.   For example, a 150-pound recreational runner burns 10 calories per minute while running a 12-minute mile, and a 110-pound competitive runner burns 14 calories per minute while running 6-minute mile.

2.    Carbohydrate is the most important fuel for runners, so consuming adequate carbohydrate on a daily basis is necessary to replenish your energy stores. When you train, eat whole grains, fruits, and vegetables at every meal.

3.    When training hard every day, runners need 3.6 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day.  For recreational runners, 2.3 to 2.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight per day is enough.

4.    Runners need 0.55 to 0.64 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day as well. The typical American diet provides plenty of protein, so runners usually get enough protein without adding protein drinks or supplements. Good sources of protein include fish, chicken, turkey, lean cuts of beef, low-fat or nonfat milk, yogurt, low fat cheeses, eggs, nuts, and soy.

5.    Runners burn more fat than people who don’t exercise. Calories from fat should make up about 20% to 25% of the calories in a runner’s diet. Choose heart-healthy fats, such as canola oil, olive oil, and nuts.

How to fuel before, during and after exercise

1.    Before exercise.  Your pre-exercise goal is to be fueled for your training.  The ideal pre-exercise meal should be carbohydrate rich and well tolerated.  The number of carbohydrates you need depends on your weight and the timing of the meal prior to exercise.  Generally, you should consume 0.5g – 2g per pound of body weight of carbohydrate 1 to 4 hours prior to exercise.

For example a 145 lb person: 1 hour before his run should consume 0.5 g per pound weight (e.g. 145 x 0.5 = 72.5 grams)

Sample meal:

•    1 small banana (15g of carbs) + 1 slice toast (15g of carbs) + 1 Tbsp of jam (15g of carbs) + 16 oz of Gatorade (30g of carbs) = 75 grams of carbohydrate
•    1 cup of cooked oatmeal (30g of carbs) + 4 Tbsp raisins (30g of carbs) + 8 oz Gatorade (15g of carbs) = 75 grams of carbohydrate

2.    During exercise. Consuming 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate every hour has proven to improve performance in exercise lasting longer than 90 minutes.  Your pre-workout meal will provide enough energy for exercises lasting less than 90 minutes. Try gels, energy drinks, or anything that you can tolerate.

3.    After exercise. If your exercise lasts longer than 90 minutes, you should consume 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight immediately after exercise, followed by 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight 2 hours later, which will enhance your muscle recovery rate. Consume carbohydrates that are quickly absorbed into your bloodstream.  You may prefer a high-carbohydrate drink if your stomach does not tolerate solid food immediately after exercise.  Adding a small amount of protein (about 6-15grams) will also provide amino acids for building and repairing muscle tissue.

For example a 145 lb person should consume 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight + 6-15 grams of protein (e.g. 0.7 x 145 = 101grams of carbohydrate + 6-15g of protein)

Sample meal:

1 bagel (60 grams of carbs) + 8 oz chocolate milk (45 grams of carbs) + 2 oz of low fat cheese (14 grams of protein)

Top three nutrition tips for improving performance

1.    Drink enough fluid. All the training in the world won’t make you a better runner if you are dehydrated. Develop a fluid plan and stick with it. Choose a sport drink to replace fluids, provide carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Find a flavor of sport drink that you can enjoy during exercise—the drink flavor you like at rest may be different from what you want when you are hot and sweaty.

2.    Eat carbohydrates at every meal and snack. Good choices include whole grain or enriched breads, rolls, low-fat muffins, waffles, pancakes, and cereals. Vegetables and fruits, vegetable and fruit juices, brown rice, pasta, and baked white or sweet potatoes are also good carbohydrate choices.

3.    Eat well during training. Training should include fuel training. Just as you plan your training, you should plan to properly fuel your body. Work with a sports dietitian to learn about nutrition recommendations and create a meal and snack plan that works with your training schedule and performance goals.

Fluid needs

1.    Better hydration means better performance!

2.    Drink 2 cups of fluids 2 hours before running.

3.    Drink 5 to 10 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise to replace the amount of water lost in sweat.  One medium mouthful of fluid equals about 1 oz.

4.    During a road race, grab cups of water offered to you and drink at least five swallows before tossing the rest over your head. Fluids poured on your body, although it may feel good, don’t help hydrate you.

5.    During training runs, carry bottles of fluid in a fanny pack, bottle belt, or stash them along your route.

6.    Don’t rely on thirst to tell you when to drink because it is a bad indicator of hydration status.  A number of factors can influence thirst signals, so by the time you are thirsty, you are already slightly dehydrated.

7.    After running, drink about 24 oz of fluids for every pound lost. This is especially important if you train every day.


July 8, 2008 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

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