Diet must be an integral part of every runner’s training regime


GOOD nutrition is vital for health and wellbeing. For runners there’s the additional significance of enhanced performance, faster recovery between sessions and the prevention of illness and injury. We should consider diet a key component of the training regime, and that means thinking about how to fuel before, during and after a run. Before a run, have a light meal or a carbohydrate-based snack. Running on an empty stomach is not a good idea but do allow one to two hours between eating and running to give food time to digest – that minimises stitch and tummy problems.

If you intend to run for more than an hour you should look to take onboard carbohydrates during the run, at a rate of between 30-60g per hour. Try sports drinks, gels, energy bars, flapjacks or dried fruit.

Once you finish your run you should aim to replenish your levels of glycogen with a quick snack like a banana or sports recovery drink. Do this immediately after training and aim to have a balanced meal within a couple of hours. This will help shorten recovery times and reduce muscle soreness the following day.


l Allow carbohydrates (such as pasta, potatoes and bread) to form 60-65 per cent of your total calorie intake

l Eat protein to help recovery (1.5g of protein per kilo of bodyweight for an active person) l Incorporate “good” fats (like Omega 3) from fish, nuts and olive oil
l Maximise vitamin and mineral intake with at least five portions of fruit and veg per day
l Eat iron-rich foods (good ones are lean red meat, lentils and spinach) to prevent fatigue and anaemia

l Go wholegrain: swap white pasta and <a href=""; target="_blank">bread for healthier brown</a>, wholegrain versions
l Protect the nutrients in your food by using seasonal produce and keeping food fresh
l Choose healthy cooking and preparation techniques by grilling and steaming, rather than frying, food


l Have too much sugar, caffeine or alcohol
l Regularly opt for refined, processed, or fast foods
l Wait until you’re thirsty when taking in fluid
l Binge eat: you should graze regularly through the day so you’re never
hungry but never too full.
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