Walking requires no preparation as we all walk daily. But running, unlike walking, is an activity of the past in most our cases. Gone are our running days when we used to race with our friends to reach the school gate first, had running competitions between teams during sports day or even ran to catch up with our dad’s jogging. But now, even running behind a bus to catch it has become a complex issue. How many of you have run in the past couple of years after becoming adults? Can you even remember when you stopped running -after school, after your 10th grade in school or after college? I guess all of you are thinking upon an answer quite feverishly but without a definite conclusion!
Maybe its time to refresh your running skills! You can’t start running immediately if you have led a sedentary lifestyle for a long time. Start with walking, proceed to brisk walking and then move on to running once you get a green signal from your doctor that its not going to hurt your knee or cause trouble. You need to prepare yourself to run with well-fitted running shoes, clothing that blends with the season and a familiar route that’s safe and smooth. Apart from these, the individual also needs to take care of his/her eating schedules by eating nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fluids to contribute towards the lost energy needs thereby helping you in the long run.
The running speed, distance, duration, gender, fitness levels and diet strongly affect energy stores. All of the macronutrients-carbohydrates, fats and proteins-are fuel sources for running. Carbs play an integral role without which you would be left with no energy to run. While fruits, veggies and whole grains are great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it is wiser to choose healthy unsaturated fats (peanuts, olives, etc.), nuts, soy foods and omega-3s (predominantly present in flaxseed oil and fatty fish). Proteins too help in building and repairing muscles, contracting and relaxing muscles, builds ligaments and bones that strongly support these muscles and prevent muscle breakdown during recovery. Chicken, fish, beans, nuts, meat, eggs, turkey, veggies and whole grains are good sources of protein.
Before you start adjusting your diet schedules it is recommended that you calculate the number of calories to support your new running regimen. Don’t introduce too many new foods as this might elevate total calorie value adding more calories than you are burn making your whole running schedule go down the drains. It is advisable to add 100 calories for every 2 kilometers that you run.
Before the Run
Pre-run snacks are essential for maintaining blood sugar levels and glycogen stores. It is advisable to consume these snacks 45-60 minutes before commencing the run. Choose foods that are high in carbs, low in fiber and low in fat to avoid complications such as nausea, gas or cramps by choosing something like plain toast, muffin, cereal, breakfast bar, coconut water, fruit shakes and sports drinks. All these are necessary only if the run would be for more than an hour else water is more than enough to keep the body hydrated.
After the Run
We would have lost quite a lot of water as sweat and once recovery happens we replace 1 ½ times the amount of fluid lost during the run with water. Ensure to eat high-carb snacks within 30 minutes of the activity. Checking your weight before and after the run helps you decide the quantity of fluids needed by your body. Sports drink, chocolate milk, veggies and fruit shakes are few of the post-recovery foods that do a great work on the body.
Before starting to run pay a visit to the grocery store to get all the essentials. Choose those foods that are tasty, nutritious and easy to carry to help you achieve success. You can also get in touch with reputed dietitians and nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com who can help you with your pre- and post-run diet menu and plans.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.