Some athletes run to eat, while others eat to run. There's a close relationship between food (fuel) and energy (performance), and no matter which type of runner (or eater) you are, what you put into your body affects everything from your mood to your motivation to your ability to keep running strong.
You probably already know that carbohydrates provide your muscles with the energy they need to run, that fruits and vegetables contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and that staying hydrated is crucial to your energy and recovery. If so, you're off to a great start—but there are some other basics you should know as well.
Breakfast is a good place to start—it's the most important meal of the day! By eating a balanced breakfast consisting of complex carbs, fresh fruit, and low-fat milk or yogurt, you can stabilize your mood and energy level, and even set the stage for healthy eating all day long.
Other tips to consider:
Try to eat 1-2 snacks daily. Think of these snacks as additional chances to get in one or two servings of the healthy foods you need each day.
Forget the "after 8" rule (no eating after 8:00 p.m.). You can (and should) eat after every run, no matter what the clock says. If you eat a balanced meal consisting of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and a hearty serving of veggies, you can forget the guilt.
Save room for dessert! Depriving yourself of your favorite treats often leads to trouble. If you limit your daily treat to either one portion or 10% of your daily calorie needs, feel free to enjoy it.
With those basics in mind, follow the links below for customized nutritional advice to suit your individual training, racing, and lifestyle needs.