Quality matters more than quantity in training and recovery. What you eat, and in what ratios, can dramatically impact your efficiency as a runner.
Let your body teach you what it prefers.
Your fuel impacts…
- your energy on a run
- whether your body chooses to burn sugars or fat
- how quickly you recovery
- your ability to hold onto muscle mass vs burning it
- stomach issues in races
And so much more!
If you’ve paid attention to your body’s signals, you’ve probably already identified a lot about what does and doesn’t work for you pre-run, during and post-run.
Balance your meals.
In metabolic efficiency, you want to also take a close look at how balanced your meals are. Here is what we know for sure:
- You need carbohydrates
- You need healthy fats
- You need adequate protein (higher than sedentary friends)
Any form of eating that cuts out or drastically reduces a macro-nutrient might have short term benefits but can lead to long term metabolism changes or missing nutrients.
In metabolic efficiency, you will balance carbs more evenly with protein than in a typical runner’s diet but carbohydrates will almost always be the highest macro-nutrient for runners. This is where nutrient tracking can be very helpful and eye opening.
In the runner’s reset, I recommend using myfitnesspal for the 21 days so we get an idea of our starting point and what pieces need to be tweaked.
Focus on your post workout meal.
Post workout is the best time to include starchy carbohydrates. I like this image from Precision Nutrition because it gives a great visual of what your plate should look like.
If you are carb sensitive, you may want to aim for non-starchy carbohydrates for other meals but post workout is always a good time to get them in and replenish your glycogen stores.
Remember that there is no one way of eating that works for everyone.
While protein needs remain steady, there are several variables in an ideal runner’s diet:
- Some of us do better with animal protein while others feel better on plant based proteins
- Some feel great on wheat while others notice it causes inflammation and bloating
- Some prefer higher carb and lower fat while others do better on higher fat and lower carb
Yes, everyone wants a “one fits all” diet but the truth is that you have to do what works for you.
In the Runner’s Reset (beginning next week!!) we’ll look at the best case scenario combinations of carbs, fat and protein for runners and how to identify the balance that your body prefers.
Have you ever tracked your food on myfitnesspal to determine how balanced your carbs, protein and fat are?
What have you learned so far about your body and the fuel that it prefers for running?