One of the best forms of exercise is going for a run and today I have compiled my top 10 energy foods for running. With the weather seemingly improving, I know there are a lot of people now planning to get started on running outdoors, which is a great form of exercise for both health and fitness.
Are you thinking of starting to run? You’ve heard it costs virtually nothing to do, apart from making sure you’ve got good running shoes, and it’s great for your health.
One thing that’s extremely important if you plan to start running, is to ease into it gradually. In fact, at the beginning it may be best to start with a walking and jogging program before you progress to the running part. If you’ve been a couch potato for a long while this will be the safest and best way for you to go.
No matter whether you are a beginner to running, or someone who has been doing it for a long while now, one other essential element is to be eating the right foods to support your efforts.
As a runner you need energy and lots of it. But you need more besides. It’s so important when running for your body to be operating at peak efficiency and this requires high quality nutrition providing you vitamins, minerals and fiber. So the foods that you consume play a big part in your overall performance.
Making sure you eat the best foods to fuel your training and maintain your stamina will help you to both feel better and perform better. It’s essential to create for yourself a balanced nutrition plan. You need foods that will provide you fuel and others for repair and rebuilding, which is provided by protein.
Here is my list of the top ten foods required for runners.
Pasta is seen by many as being the runners number one food of choice. It provides unprocessed, slow-release energy which is essential to support you in your running efforts. The wholegrain variety is by far your best option as it has all the goodness still in it. You will find that more sportsman will fill up on pasta prior to their period of exertion.
You just have to watch sports on television to see banana’s being consumed by sportsmen. Tennis is a great example of this. Bananas are perfect to give you a quick injection of additional fuel. For a quick hit of energy during a run then opt for brown ripe banana, or if you are loading up prior to starting go for a greener coloured outer skin to get a slow releasing energy.
My favourite breakfast food also is a great resource for runners. When made with low fat milk it provides you with the perfect combination of fibre, protein and slow-release energy.
Here we are talking about a quality protein source great for recovery and repair, as well as a food high in iron, a mineral that fights off fatigue. Runners need more protein than the average diet contains to support the rebuilding of muscles and promote recovery after a hard tiring run. My particular choice would be the white meat from chicken of course once removing the skin. .
Fresh Oily Fish
The Omega 3 fats in these fish is a must have for all runners. Examples would include Salmon, Trout, Tuna, Sardines, Kippers, Mackerel and Herring and. The latter 4 can be canned or smoked. The number one choice in my mind is Salmon an excellent source of both high and omega-3 fats.
Fruit and Vegetables
Your minimum requirement for fruit and vegetables is 5 portions, but I recommend having 8. You should choose a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially fresh produce which contain higher levels of anti-oxidant nutrient important for runners. My particular favourite is stir fry vegetables, which are easy and quick to make, filling and packed with goodness. From a fruit perspective, berries are absolutely brilliant.
Eggs have all the essential amino acids needed by your muscles after running to recover. I love them in my salads, so you’re adding flavour.
A little known vegetable that is high in carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin A and C, potassium, iron, and the two trace minerals manganese and copper. They provide energy, and a lot more besides. So a magic pill for runners if there was such a thing.
One cup of yogurt contains a third of your recommended daily intake of calcium. Calcium is an essential for runners and it also has protein key for building muscle and recovering from your run.
Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, an antioxidant helpful for runners. Almonds in my mind are the best choice and I suggest a handful twice a day, best as a snack with a piece of fruit, or sprinkled on your salad or porridge.
So to get the best out of your running choose the right foods that will keep you healthy and fuel peak performance.