Some Nutrition Tips For Runners
There is more than one reason why running is good for your body – it is not all about looks, but it affects your health, stamina, posture and appearance. That is why running is appealing both to amateurs and professional athletes equally, as the former enjoy it recreationally and to control their weight, while the latter use it to stay in shape and keep their performance on the highest level. Of course, it is important to eat healthy and have a proper diet full of fruits and vegetables, but also take food supplements that make your running routine, and race recovery, a little easier. Here are some of those and why they might be helpful for you.
You do not have to love Iron Man Tony Stark to realize how much good iron brings into your body, especially if you are a female runner. Namely, iron deficiency attacks women due to their monthly cycle and, if they are seriously considering taking up running as an everyday activity, this could become a problem during their period. However, iron deficiency has several causes when it comes to all runners, and it is vital to keep your iron level high.
Iron supplements come in various forms, but experts most often suggest ferrous sulfate in a pill. While men are usually prescribed ten grams a day, it's suggested that women take fifteen, but not without consulting a doctor.
This is not just a good wake-up method people use in the early morning, but a supplement that gives you strength, stamina and speed – all three are essential when running. We're big caffeine fans, and have talked about coffee and running here before. It does not matter if you are training just to stay fit or preparing for a half marathon, caffeine can be good for your performance, especially if taken in an energy drink, tablets or sports gels. We're huge fans of green tea -- we find with tea, we crash less and keep the caffeine buzz going longer.
Furthermore, if you are a so-called AM runner – which means running is a part of your morning exercise routine – caffeine can be beneficial on at least two levels: if wakes you up and then gives you strength to reach your daily goal. However, it can also bring some side-effects as well, so be careful not to take too much unless you want to experience headache or stomach pain. Just be sure stay hydrated when taking caffeine -- drink lotsa water!
Probably one of the most important supplements, protein provides you with protein that has a pivotal role with physical processes – from getting up to going to bed, you need it in order to stay alive. Moreover, runners need it even more due to their exhausting training regime.
One of the best ways to introduce protein into your system is protein powder mixed with water or milk. It is absorbed rather quickly and stays in your body for a longer period of time. You can take it before or after your run to make your juices flow and boosts the recovery process, respectively, and you cannot go wrong with about fifty grams of this powder daily. For many of you no-meat athletes, or those sensitive to dairy, we also like plain 'ol pea protein, or other vegan protein supplements like the popular Vega line of plant-based supplements.
Another important supplement is still infamous because it is used by bodybuilders who tend to overuse it and harm their bodies. However, creatine aids your muscle recovery which is necessary after a long run. Even though it may not help you prepare for a marathon, it will definitely assist pre-running exercises and short-distance trainings. It also helps your muscles grow, which is always good – of course, if you take it in moderate amounts, about twenty grams on a daily basis.
These are not the only options, so you should look into benefits of calcium, beta-alanine and amino acids that will give you more strength and endurance, burn excessive fat and muscles and bulk you up. (We've talked about how great amino acids are before here). All of these assist you in achieving your goal and becoming a more successful runner.
What supplements do you find help your running performance or recovery? Let us know, we're always willing to try out almost anything, even Cat Hair Pills!
Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating on the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing advices for better life at highstylife.com and other health blogs. Follow him on Twitter.