As any professional athlete is well aware of, training can only take you so far when it comes to running performance. In order to keep levelling up your speed and endurance, you also really need to carefully consider what you’re eating. This is where your body is pulling its fuel from and certain foods can help tremendously. Not to mention, you can also reduce the risk of injury and illness with the right meal planning too.
Here are some of the top foods to incorporate into your diet to noticeably boost your running performance and recovery ease:
- Eggs: just 1 egg can meet around 10% of your daily protein needs, important for recovery.
- Bananas: a high-carb energy booster that also contains a healthy dose of potassium.
- Almonds: an excellent source of vitamin E, these can also lower cholesterol levels.
- Pure Peanut Butter: offers a good deal of protein for muscle repair and growth.
- Oats and Oatmeal: high in carbs and fibre, this breakfast option has a low glycaemic index.
- Whole Grain Pasta: boosts glycogen reserves providing the energy you need for distance.
- Salmon: this is one of the best sources for omega 3 fats, essential to balance inflammation.
- Coffee: high-intensity interval training can be boosted with a cuppa, no milk or sugar.
- Dark Chocolate: the guilt-free treat that can also lower blood and cholesterol levels.
- Avocado: rich in poly- and monounsaturated fats, these boost your reserves and endurance.
Aside from a nutritious, balanced diet on a regular basis, you also need a higher intake of certain foods before and after a run or workout. Runners need these food groups at very particular stages:
- Carbohydrates to fuel the run: whole grain pasta, cereal, sweet potatoes etc.
- Protein for muscle strength and recovery: lean meat, eggs, beans etc.
- Antioxidants to heal faster: berries, mixed greens, kale, vegetables etc.
- Minerals like potassium to replenish the salts lost: found in fruit like bananas etc.
- Fibre and probiotics for stronger immunity: fresh produce, grains, yoghurt etc.
As a runner, you have more specific nutritional requirements than the general population. Definitely consider working with a qualified sports nutritionist to absolutely perfect your diet. This needs to be examined and calibrated by a professional in relation to your specific body and goals.