Eating for Endurance
Athletes train well in advance to get in shape and to gain that competitive edge. However, the area of nutrition is often overlooked and can make a major difference in a runner's endurance, risk of injury and overall health. Those new to endurance training often turn to supplements for that edge, but may overlook what they are actually eating. A good nutrition program is important well before, during and in the recovery stage, on up to the next event.
Pre-exercise recovery foods: Complex carbs are the slow carbs and are the best choice before an event or workout. These foods break down more slowly and provide your muscles with a longer, more constant source of energy. Complex carbs are the starches, including bread, cereal, rice, pasta, beans and peas.
Post-exercise recovery foods: Refueling after a workout is extremely important. This is the time to replace those glycogen stores. Research has shown that there's a window of about 30 minutes after an event where the body is most able to 'soak up' and replace glycogen stores. Often a runner isn't hungry and would much rather opt for a massage or a shower. However, it's important to get about half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight at this time. An easy way to compute this is to just double your body weight. This would give you the calories needed for recovery. Popular choices include sports drinks, energy bars and fruit. Eating carbs after a workout or run will improve your ability to train and recover effectively.
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Barbara Lewin R.D., L.D. Sports Nutritionist
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