Runner’s Diet: Race Nutrition for Runners

"Ready, Set, Go!!!" Your last dinner before the race is a large bowl of pasta; the next day you prepare yourself with a nutritious breakfast. Perhaps snack on a couple of power biscuits or half a banana 20 minutes before you start.

You're off to a good start! However, if you want to improve your pace and hit your target time (or even set a new personal record) during the race, you should start paying attention to your diet as early as the first phase of your training – not just on the morning of the race. Your diet during the training months will determine your performance in a race.

Researchers at Aalborg University in Denmark found that recreational runners finished a marathon faster if they had a professional nutrition strategy in place before and during their race. They focused on increased fluid and energy intake during the competition and were on average 10:55 minutes faster.

Bottom line:

Make diet a priority when training for a race to increase your mileage.

Running nutrition BEFORE training for a race

  • Powerful mint
    Add a few mint leaves to your water starting 10 days before the race. Mint not only boosts fat burning, but also gives you more energy.
  • Ginger: hot & healthy
    Ginger makes runners even fitter, according to the Central European Journal of Immunology. It keeps the inflammation levels of endurance athletes low, thereby reducing fatigue after training and protecting against infections.
  • A glass of beetroot juice before the run
    The nitrate contained in beetroot lowers the muscles' need for oxygen. This makes the exercise less tiring. It also expands your blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation.
  • Peanut butter for strong muscles
    Peanut butter on bread every now and then during the training phase helps build muscle in the legs.
  • Magical chia seeds
    A daily dose of chia seeds provides strength and endurance and at the same time supports muscle regeneration.

Running nutrition AFTER training for a race

To really benefit from your training efforts in your next race, you also need to focus on your post-workout diet.

  • Drink enough
    After you have finished a training run, drink 300-500 ml (or more, depending on the duration and intensity) within 10 minutes of finishing it. Homemade isotonic drinks, fruit juices or whey are ideal.
  • Stock up on carbohydrates
    You should consume carbohydrates within an hour of your workout. Opt for quick carbohydrates like rice, potatoes, or pasta. Even if you fill up with carbohydrates right after the run, it takes your body up to 12 hours to replenish its carbohydrate reserves. So enjoy pasta, potatoes, rice etc. the day after tomorrow too.

Recovery, recovery, recovery

Recovery is critical when it comes to improving your performance. It is important to find a healthy balance between exercise and recovery in order to reach your full potential and improve your performance.

  • Sleep improves your pace
    Sleep is critical to improving your performance. Both the quality and the quantity of your sleep are crucial for your fitness and the recovery of your body. This ensures that your muscles are ready for the next run.
  • Take care of your muscles
    Any runner can tell you a thing or two about tight and tight hamstrings and calves. If you are starting to feel sore, try these natural remedies for sore muscles. Additionally, give your muscles some love and use a foam roller. You can follow along with fitness trainer Lunden in this foam rolling workout video:

So it's not just about your training … To stay fit for your next run and improve your pace, focus on nutrition and recovery too.


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