Nutrition for Runners
Ultimately, anyone who runs should ensure that they are eating a regular, healthy balanced diet avoiding too many sugars and saturated fats – as should EVERYONE! Runners and other very active people may find that they need to take in a few more carbohydrates than the average sedentary person, together with plenty of vitamin and mineral-rich foodstuffs. We strongly recommend that anyone taking up running (or indeed any other very active pursuit) should not also embark upon a radical diet at the same time. A carb-free diet is particularly not recommended for runners, and we are personally opposed to any diets that leads to excessive consumption of one type of food – such as a protein only diet. Such things should only be undertaken with considerable advice from your GP, and a solid understanding of why you are doing it, how it will affect your body and your activities and what the overall result might be.
Healthy eating is fundamentally about having a well-rounded and varied diet rich in fruit, vegetables, water and unprocessed foods, having sensible portions of it and eating at regulated times (and especially not too late in the evening). It is about eating in a sustainable and sensible way, not over-filling or under-nourishing the body and not putting your body through the stress and potential upset of sudden changes or binges.
For more information about food types, why they are each important for healthy body functions, how foods are categorised and what a healthy runner should ideally be eating, we recommend you visit this very helpful website: http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/sports-nutrition.html, or the very detailed information found on https://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/sports-nutrition.html.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan who would like to discuss your eating habits with us or hear some of our own meal, breakfast and snack ideas, please email us or pop in for a chat: email@example.com
When running it is important to ensure that you remain well hydrated, especially during warmer weather, longer runs and those when you particularly exert yourself. The muscles need a steady intake of water to function, repair and recover, but they may also need a little extra help in the form of electrolytes. Electrolytes are basically mineral salts (calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium) extracted from the food we consume, and essential to the functioning of the muscles and vital organs. When you sweat, electrolytes are lost from the body (hence why sweat is sticky and salty) and this can lead to cramp and muscle problems in runners, and slower muscle recovery afterwards.
There are several electrolyte supplements on the market, but we particularly like Nuun and High 5 “zero” tabs. These sugar-free and very natural hydration tablets dissolve quickly in water and taste very refreshing, and they are available in many flavours to suit all tastes. We currently stock many great flavours, including several with caffeine in.
We have also recently discovered Clif “Shot Bloks” – delicious (and totally vegan!) gel cubes that are chewed to give an energy and electrolyte boost. Available in 4 lovely flavours – Mountain Berry, Strawberry, Tropical Punch and Black-cherry (the latter 2 with caffeine) – these are light and easy to carry, easy to eat and fast-acting.
If energy is your problem (and for long runs most of us will resort to taking on more carbs as it is less painful than the body breaking down glycogen to access it!), we stock the well respected Science in Sport isotonic energy gels, electrolyte/energy/recovery powders and bars. All the items we stock are vegetarian and easy to digest. In 2015 we also became a stockist of HIGH 5 gels – a fast-acting and natural fruit energy gel which has earned itself a high recommendation from the Vegetarian Society.
Personally we have found the High-5s to be extremely pleasant to eat, and they are a much lighter consistency and much more natural than many gels we have tried – a real winner!
If you prefer a more solid and “foody” solution to energy consumption on a run/cycle ride, we have always carried SIS Mini-Go-Bars, and now stock Clif Bars too – natural fruit and cereal bars containing high energy food sources such as oatmeal, dried fruits and peanuts. All we can say about these is… NOM!
New for 2016!
With some people unable to tolerate gels, or worried about how to dispose of the sticky wrappers on long runs, we have found an exciting new product from Columbia! It is 100% natural and has just 2 ingredients – guava paste and sugar! They are Luchos Dillitos “Bocadillos“, and come in blocks of dry, firm, fruit paste (rather like the texture of Kendal Mint Cake or firm fudge!) which can be eaten in pieces or in one go. They dissolve quickly in the mouth and are extremely fast acting, and as they are naturally high in electrolyte and carbohydrate they provide long lasting energy. No added ingredients, and no colourants, flavourings or additives of ANY kind!
Even more awesome – each block comes wrapped in a leaf… an actual real leaf! Once finished with the leaf can just be dropped on the ground to harmlessly biodegrade – making it ideal for long runs away from civilisation (and bins!) or trail runs.
All of the above are available in our shop now, and most are dairy-free and suitable for gluten-intolerant runners too, so pop in to view the range.