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What Foods to Eat to Run Faster

Posted by George Parker on
What Foods to Eat to Run Faster

Eating the right foods can help you run faster. There is no miracle food to produce faster running times, but nutritional principles can help you run faster.

HYDRATION

Stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is vital for most cellular functions in the body. When you run, your body generates enormous internal heat and cools itself by sweating. A dehydrated runner will overheat and run slower than his or her potential. To stay hydrated, start your day by drinking a glass of water. Then, continue to sip on water throughout the day. Having a water bottle easily accessible will help keep you hydrated before your runs.

ELECTROLYTES

Your muscles need electrolytes such as sodium and potassium to contract efficiently. If you are low on electrolytes, your muscles will cramp, limiting your ability to run fast. In general, most Western diets contain sufficient amounts of the electrolytes of sodium and potassium. Where you need first to focus is on losing electrolytes during runs. Before and during workouts, try sipping on sports drinks such as Gatorade or Body Armor. There are zero-calorie options if you want to limit sugar. On long runs, experiment with taking salt capsules for a substantial replenishment does of electrolytes.   

CARBOHYDRATES FOR ENERGY

Runners love carbs. And we should because carbohydrates contain glucose, which is the starting fuel for cellular respiration --- the process by which the body converts glucose to ATP to power motion and most other living processes. Your body can also burn fat for fuel, but you need a high percentage of carbohydrates for fast running.

Before a workout, top-off of your glucose reserves by eating correctly. For workouts lasting longer than 60 minutes, you will benefit from topping off your glucose stores with 30-60mg of carbohydrates from sports drinks, gels, or light snacks. After a workout, follow these simple tips to replenish your carbohydrate reserves. In all cases, eat complex versus simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates include grains, oatmeal, and pasta compared to the simple carbohydrates in cookies, candies, and soft drinks.

VITAMINS

In the mid-20th century, Nobel Prize-winning scientists discovered a new set of “amines” --- a type of chemical compound with a nitrogen atom --- that cells were using to produce energy. As time would show, without these compounds, the body was incapable of performing the most fundamental living processes — these “vital amines” were later shortened to Vitamins.

Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E are essential compounds in the body. Not all are amines, but all of vital to living. Vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants that operate in water and fat-soluble environments, respectively. Vitamin B’s are responsible for cellular energy and reproduction. Vitamin D is so vital for strong bones that your skin synthesizes its Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.

To run faster, you cannot have vitamin deficiencies. A healthy, balanced diet of protein, fruits, and vegetables should be sufficient in all vitamins. But most of us do not eat ideally every day. A good runner multivitamin will ensure you have the essential vitamins and minerals you need to run faster.

CAFFEINE

Caffeine is probably the closest thing we have to a miracle food to help your run faster. Numerous studies have shown how caffeine improves aerobic activity along with general alertness and mood. To get the full benefits from caffeine, you need to time your intake and measure the amount consumed carefully. It takes between 45 and 60 minutes for caffeine to kick into your system thoroughly. You need 2 to 6mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. So, a 140-pound runner needs 130 to 380mg of caffeine about an hour before a workout to receive the full stimulant boost. Nowadays, caffeine is available everywhere. Coffee, energy drinks, pre-workout powders, or tea, to name a few, are all excellent sources of caffeine.

PROTEIN FOR RECOVERY

Hard running workouts are essential to improving speed and endurance. But these workouts will tax your leg muscles. It’s crucial to recover optimally after a hard run. There’s a magic 30-minute window after a run where your cells are on high alert for nutrients to replenish their reserves. During this time, you can give your body protein, which contains amino acids, to help your leg muscles rebuild and become stronger. Try adding protein to your post-workout meal, such as with chicken or eggs. Or try Pea or Whey Protein in a post-workout nutritional shake.

The more you know, the faster you run. Best wishes on chasing your running goals!

-George

PEREGRUNE Founder & Chief Vitamin Engineer

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PEREGRUNE engineers vitamins and supplements exclusively to improve the performance, health, and recovery of runners.

Now matter your age,  busyness, or stage of life, now is the time to chase your running goals --- set a PR, run a new distance, or get in your best shape. 

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