Running is a sure-fire way to improve your fitness, but the more you run the more fuel your body requires. By making just a few tweaks to your normal balanced diet, you'll train, race, and recover faster, plus you'll feel more energised.
Carbohydrate-rich foods are converted into glucose and are the optimum runner's fuel. However, different carbohydrates serve different training purposes; two to three hours before you set off you should focus on low to medium-GI carbs as these release their energy gradually. Higher-GI carbs are more rapidly released and should be limited to immediately before exercise to boost energy or after exercise for recovery and to replenish tired muscles.
So what are the best sources of carbohydrates as a runner? Try the following suggestions:
- Medium GI carbs: Aim for wholegrain bread, oats, brown rice, polenta, wholewheat pasta, lentils and pulses and vegetables (such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash) for slow-release energy
- High GI carbs: Ideal choices are fruit, flapjacks, energy bars or sports drinks (try making your own using 250ml unsweetened fruit juice, 250ml water and 1/5 teaspoon of salt)