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Nutrition And Hydration For Endurance Training

As you train, you will be asking yourself several questions about what, when and how much you should eat and drink during your training.

If you have never trained for an endurance event, let me forewarn you, during this training experience you will begin an amazing, new relationship with your body. Your body will work hard for you but you will need to listen carefully to what it needs. You will be responsible for providing your body with the fuel it needs to be successful.

Eat a Well Balanced Diet.

  • Whole grains: oats, wheat, quinoa, brown rice, barley, couscous

  • Fruits and vegetables: eat a variety throughout the week to provide you with vitamins, minerals, and fiber

  • Lean protein sources: fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans provide your body with protein that is needed to build and repair muscle

  • Limit deep, fried foods. This will affect how you feel during your training. You will feel heavy and bogged down and your body will have a harder time using it for energy.

Taking a Glance at a Pre-Workout Meal.

Eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast coupled with protein 1 to 2 hours prior to run. For example, if you are running at 8am, eat between 6 - 7am. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter or an egg and a piece of fruit

  • Oatmeal with nuts and fruit

  • Smoothie with fruit and either Greek yogurt or scoop of protein powder

If you aren’t sure what to eat before your run, you can try one of the above examples. Test it out and see how your body feels. If you feel heavy, crampy, or nauseous, modifications may need to be made. In the first few weeks of training, it is important to try and accomplish a consistent pre-run meal pattern. This will help your body become accustomed to what you will be giving it for fuel on your run days.

Make Water a Daily Priority.

During the first few weeks when miles are low most individuals are fine with just drinking plain water during their runs. As miles increase, you may use a variety of hydration options including sports drinks and other hydration supplements.

*Always bring your water bottle or hydration pack.

Types of Hydration packs

Hydration Waist-Pack (My personal choice)

Easy to drink while running. No removal of bottle required just grab the hydration tube and drink. Plus, there is little to no swish or slosh from the water and it sits firmly along your lumbar region for less discomfort from added weight. There is a front pocket for keys, phone, and gels. Con: Water only but you can carry edible carb/electrolyte supplements in pocket.

Hydration Back Pack

You can use this backpack style camelback for running. My advice is make sure your back is okay for having the water weight up on your upper back. Another aspect to be careful of if you choose this style is to make sure that it fits snugly on your shoulders to prevent chafing and blistering. Any little annoying rub over 13.1 or 26.2 miles WILL LEAVE A MARK! There are several sizes to choose from but again make sure it fits and is meant for running.

Single and Double Bottle Waist-Packs

There are several brands and styles to choose from. Most of them will have a variety of pockets with at least one for keys, ID, and phone. They typically hold one or two bottles holding typically 12 to 16 ounces of water each. This allows you the flexibility to carry water only or a combination of water and sports drink. There is usually a little sloshing so if you are an irritable runner you may not like the swish. The 8oz Flask Style Waist-Pack

You can get belts with 2 to 4 bottles and add additional clip on flasks if necessary. You can also position them anywhere on the belt for comfort. This style has flexibility to have water only or water and sports drink. May feel a little sloshing or swishing from the liquid as you run.

Handheld Bottles

This is a great option for shorter distances if you do not ability to refill bottle. May work out well for longer runs that have water stops available every few miles. Prior to an event, review the water stations that will be available to see if this option will work. My opinion is to have one of the other options available for your longer runs and race day because water stations can change or run low.


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