Nutrition Guide for Runners
by Kathleen Deegan, PhD, MS, RD
Goals for Pre-Performance
- Choose a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack to restore muscle & fuel activity
- Limit fat & fiber to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort & ensure optimal digestion
- Eat meals & snacks that are 4:1 carbohydrate : protein
- Start your run well hydrated by drinking plenty of water & eating foods high in water, i.e. fruits & vegetables
Goals for Mid-Event Nutrition
- Choose high-energy snacks & beverages that fuel & hydrate for optimal performance
- Limit fat, fiber & protein to ensure easy digestion & prevent stomach upset
- Good choices include: water, banana or orange slices, sports drink & GU (30 min into activity)
- Begin nutrition recovery within 45 min after run for optimal results
- Eat recovery meals & snacks that are 3:1 carbohydrate : protein
Goals for Recovery
- Replenish energy stores by replacing muscle fuel (carbohydrate)
- Rebuild & repair muscle (protein)
- Restore fluid & electrolyte balance
- For every 1lb weight lost, drink 16 oz. water
Night Before Event
- Turkey & Swiss cheese sandwich
- Pasta primavera or pasta with marinara sauce
- Baked potato with vegetables and cheese
30-60 Min Before Event
- Peanut butter & banana on 100% whole grain bread
- Bagel with fat free cream cheese
- Fruit smoothie / fruit
- Cereal with nonfat milk
Within 45 Min After Event
- Nonfat chocolate milk
- Fruit & yogurt smoothie
- String cheese & pretzels
- Graham crackers & peanut butter
- Frozen yogurt with fruit & nuts
Within 3-4 Hrs After Event
- Whole wheat pita sandwich with turkey & veggies, pretzels & milk
- Rice bowl with beans, cheese, salsa, avocado & whole grain tortilla
- Stir fry with steak, broccoli, bell peppers, carrots & brown rice
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