We got the low-down from the experts…
Head to any popular running path and you’ll likely see droves of serious-looking striders weighed down by belts stuffed with sports bars and carb gels. Unless you’re running for an hour and a half or more, resist the urge to join them, says Pippa Mullins, a clinical dietician at MME Dietitians in Joburg with a special interest in sports nutrition. We got the low-down on the best foods to eat when you run.
Eat this before you run
Her advice: If you know you’ll run for at least 60 minutes, fuel up with an easily digestible snack that’s low in fibre, protein and fat. Our top-five picks:
1. One slice of toast with a thin spread of peanut butter (or try one of these fat burning toast toppings).
2. A rice cake with a quarter avo.
3. A banana with a teaspoon of almond butter.
4. One cup of low-fat Bulgarian yoghurt with a teaspoon of honey.
5. One handful (about 15) raw, unsalted almonds.
How much to drink
Not sure how much water is right for your workout? To find how much fluid you should be drinking, weigh yourself immediately pre- and post-run – if the difference is more than two percent of your bodyweight (1.2kg for a 60kg woman) you need to drink more. As for what to sip, water is best, although, for longer runs, energy drinks are a good source of electrolytes. If your energy fades during long runs, you’ll need a quick-release energy hit – and that’s when those gels come into their own.
Other options: if you’re racing, sip the Coke or sports drinks dished out at water stations or munch some jelly sweets, nougat or an energy bar.
Your daily diet
Your daily diet can have a big impact on your run and the key here is variety – meals should include a mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats. As a rule of thumb, opt for wholesome, unprocessed food over highly refined products that come out of a box.
Within an hour of your run, grab a snack containing carbs to replace your fuel stores, protein for muscle repair and fluid to hydrate you.
Looking for more running tips? Here are 11 starter tips all newbie runners need to know.