To optimise your running performance you need to put the right fuel in the tank, without adequate stores of glycogen (that’s your stored carbohydrate energy supply) and sufficient hydration you will be asking your body to run on limited fuel and water reserves which may be detrimental to your training and physical performance.
Listed below are some tips to aid you in fueling your body before, during and after your training sessions.
Before your workout;
Ensure you have adequate glycogen stores; try to eat regular meals and snacks (every 4 hours throughout the day). These should consist of a mixture of complex carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats) and quality protein (poultry, lean red meat, eggs, fish, beans and pulses).
1-2 hours before your exercise session top up your glycogen stores and make available some free glucose with a medium GI snack e.g. oatcakes with peanut butter, trail mix, a medium size piece of fruit and some almonds
During your workout;
You want to aim to lose no more than 1-2% of your total body weight through dehydration.
For sessions that last < than 1.5 hours drinking water during your workout should be adequate, however if you are exercising in very hot and humid climates you may require the additional minerals found in isotonic sports drinks.
For intense sessions that last > than 1.5 hours try isotonic sports drinks, the longer your workout the more hydration and glucose support you may need.
Following your workout;
You need to try and consume a combination of quality protein with complex carbohydrate to restock your glycogen levels alongside adequate fluids to rehydrate your body within 30-45 minutes of completion of your workout.
E.g. brown rice, chicken and roasted vegetables, protein shake, fruit, muesli and yogurt, Spanish omelette
To perform at your optimum level you need to be hydrated, a body that is even 1% dehydrated will suffer both physically and mentally.
Always drink a glass of water on rising in the morning and continue throughout the day to consume 2 litres+ per day. (The volume required will vary from person to person and will depend on such factors such as gender, muscle mass, climate and training intensity.)
To monitor how hydrated you are keep an eye on the colour of your urine; your urine colour should be pale and odourless, urine that is dark in colour or has strong smell would suggest that your body is dehydrated.