The Best Nutrition Tips for Runners from Sports Dietitians

March is National Nutrition Month! In order to celebrate our health and fitness through food, I reached out to fellow experts to share their best nutrition tips for runners. Here are the go-to, necessary tips all runners should be practicing in their weekly routines.

Integral Training

“Integral training is listening to your body to determine what form, what food or fluid, and in what amount works best for you when running. Just like when you break in a new pair of running shoes, break in a change in diet slowly. Try it out. See how it feels. Give it a chance. And make haste slowly.” – Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN, Sports Dietitian and Owner of Active Eating Advice by Leslie. #Themoreyouknowthefasteryouwillgo!

Train Yourself

“Before you run a race, train yourself to get used to drinking liquids while you run to help avoid discomfort.” – Ashley Harpst, RDN, Sports Dietitian, “Be the Champion of your health.”

Don’t Try Anything New on Race Day

“When you are running in an endurance race, never eat or drink something you haven’t tried in training. You want to make sure you can tolerate what you are ingesting and taking in the right amount at the right time.” – Angela B. Moore, MS, RD, CLT, ACSM Certified Exercise Specialist, Certified LEAP Therapist for Food Sensitivities and Intolerances, Owner of FitLife of Colorado.

Eat Your Carbs

“Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy used by the body when working out, making carbs an essential nutrient for runners. If carbohydrate intake is restricted, your muscles will start to break down and in turn, performance will be impaired, which will leave you feeling chronically fatigued, like you have hit a wall, ultimately being unable to continue.” – Elyse Metelka, MS, RD, CDN, Owner of Elyse Metelka Nutrition, “The Skating Dietitian.”

Post Exercise Fueling

“Post-exercise, aim to refuel within the glycogen recovery window which is approximately 30 to 60 minutes after your run when your body craves key nutrients such as carbohydrates and protein in the ratio of 2:1 to 3:1 in order to repair muscle tissue and replace lost glycogen stores. A couple of great post-run snacks include low-fat chocolate milk, a peanut butter and a banana sandwich on whole grain bread, a handful of trail-mix, or Greek yogurt and fruit.” – Chrissy Barth, MS, RDN, RYT, Integrative and Functional Performance Dietitian.

Weight Loss Tip

“If you have excess flab to lose, be sure to surround your long runs with food (fuel up, fuel during, refuel afterwards) and then cut back on calories at night. Fuel by day and diet by night — do NOT try to lose weight during the run by running on empty. And take note: The best fueled runner often outperforms the leaner (but poorly fueled) runner.” – Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD, Boston-area sports dietitian in private practice and author of Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Drink to Your Thirst

“Stay hydrated by consuming both water and electrolyte drinks as needed during your runs. Hydration is an important component of performance. Simple rule of thumb is to drink to your thirst.” – Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, Sports Dietitian and author/writer.

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