Warriors Nutrition Plan
Top Nutrition tips for running the Warriors Run
Deborah Sherlock. MSc in Human Nutrition. Contact 0872331199
The Importance of an effective running diet
Everything we eat and drink has a direct impact on our sports performance and even enjoyment of the sport. As a runner you have increased energy requirements. The number of calories you need to consume daily depends on the duration and intensity of your workouts. Typically you will burn about 100 calories for every mile you run depending on your size. To make sure you meet your increased energy requirements for running, it important to increase calorie intake, eat at the right time and balance extra nutrient intake with your existing diet. On the run up to the Warrior’sevent, I will provide weekly nutritional advice online for your training regime.
These pages have compiled my best running nutrition advice and ten top tips on how to fuel you for your training regime in preparation for the big climb.
1. Glucose after training to refuel glycogen stores
There is a 30 minute window post exercise that allows you to optimally refuel your glycogen stores. This means if you consume a meal within this window you will be refueled for the next day. Scientific studies have shown that a meal with a ratio of 3:1 carbohydrate and protein is optimum. This ratio of carbohydrates to protein should be 3:1 or 4:1 (carbohydrates: protein). This combination of carbohydrates to protein helps the body re-synthesis muscle glycogen more efficiently than carbohydrates alone. The consumption of too much protein in this process will inhibit your body’s absorption of the carbohydrates by slowing the gastric emptying rate. However, a little bit of protein helps produce muscle building amino acids and hormones. Proper nutrition during the first 30 minute window immediately following exercise is your first step to having a better run tomorrow.
2. Proteins are important
Adequate protein intake is as important as carbohydrate intake. Protein is needed for repair of muscle damage. When training for this run you will find yourself training daily and muscle damage can occur. Protein is important to prevent muscle damage and strains and injury. Include lean red meats, chicken, turkey, eggs, nuts and legumes as your protein sources.
3. Eat complex carbohydrates
Concentrate on complex carbohydrates in your normal meals. This means swopping white refined carbohydrates for brown ones. Examples of these are wholegrain pasta and bread, brown rice and bulgar wheat. Combine carbohydrates with a protein source like lean red meat, fish and pulses. These complex carbohydrates are low G.I and allow a slower release of sustainable energy to fuel your run.
4. Don’t neglect good fats
Many athletes assume fats are the enemy and eliminate or strip them back from their diets. This however couldn’t be more wrong. Fats are important to prevent inflammation in the body. We need fats for the synthesis of fat soluble vitamins A, C and E and also fatty acids and omega 3 & 6 are so important. Lack of fat can affect immunity and slow metabolism of carbohydrates allowing the body to store them as fat rather than allow them to be used to refuel glycogen stores. Include good omega fats in your diet such as oily fish. Examples of these are mackerel, herring salmon, fresh tuna, sardines and kippers. Also omega 3s can be found in flax seeds, avocados and olives.
5. Eating healthy snacks will help training
You will find that once you begin training you will have increased energy requirement. With this increase in metabolism it is important to fuel your appetite with healthy snacks. Include fruits, fruit smoothies, seeds, cereal bars, yogurt and sandwiches.
6. Don’t drastically change diet and habits
It is very
important that you stick to foods that you enjoy eating. Don’t drastically change
your habits and diet for this event. Incorporate healthy eating and good practice into your training schedule. On the day of the warriors eat foods that you know agree with you rather than trying something new the day of the race. It is important on the day of the event that you follow similar habits to what you do on usual training days to avoid G.I. disruption. So if you find that porridge is a good breakfast for you before your run on a normal day, then stick to this the day of the race.
Fatigue can be a natural consequence of training or an over committed lifestyle, however nutritional reasons should not be underestimated. Low-carbohydrate diets, inadequate iron intake, skipping meals, inadequate fluid replacement and poor food choices can all cause fatigue. Runners should ensure that they make time to adopt healthy eating patterns and avoid cutting out entire food groups from their diet without appropriate substitutions. Replacing fluid between training sessions is very important.
8. Timing of meals is very important.
It's not just what
you eat that's crucial; it is also when
you eat that's important. Eating too close to a run or leaving too long a gap between meals without snacking will impair performance. Large meals should be eaten 2-3 hours before training or the event. A carbohydrate rich meal or glucose drink post run is very important to refuel glycogen stores. Not refuelling after your run within the 30 minute window will result in tiredness and reduce performance in your next training session.
When to eat depends on when you run. Here's a brief meal planner as a guideline for training :
Morning Runner (6 - 7am)
6am : Snack e.g. cereal bar or glass of juice
8am : Large breakfast. Should be high in carbohydrate and include protein. Ratio of 3:1 carbohydrate:protein. Aim for 30% of calorie intake for the day to be in this meal.
12.30-1pm : Lunch
4pm : Snack
6pm : Dinner
Lunchtime Runner (1 - 2pm)
8am : Carbohydrate rich breakfast of fruit and porridge or wholegrain toast or bagel
10am : Snack for example 200 calorie cereal bar
2pm : Lunch with 3:1 ratio carbohydrate:protein
4pm : Snack
6pm : Dinner
Evening Runner (7 - 8pm)
8am : Breakfast
11am : Snack
2pm : Lunch rich in carbohydrates
5pm : Snack (cereal bar or banana)
8pm : Dinner with 3:1 ratio carbohydrate:protein
9. Recommendations for fluid intake
Hydration is so important. Determining the best hydration plan for you can be the difference between a great run and a not so great run. Educating yourself is what will allow you to find the proper hydration balance for you.
Before Exercise : When hydrating prior to exercise you should slowly drink 5-7mls per kilogram of body weight at least 4 hours before. For an 80kg athlete this is between 400-560mls or approx half a litre.
During Exercise : Each athlete needs to have their own pre-planned routine that suits his/her requirements. The aim of drinking is to avoid dehydration. A suitable starting point is about 150mls to 250mls every 15 - 20 minutes but if this is not possible then more needs to be drank at stages of training or the race. This should be practiced during training.
After Excercise : 1.5 litres of fluid for every kilo of body weight lost. Isotonic & Hypertonic drinks are good for after the race. Drinks and snacks that contain sodium and carbohydrates will help speed up the recovery process by simulating thirst and fluid retention, as well as replacing the glycogen stores that have been used during exercise.
10. Tips before and after the race
- In the days before The Warriors Run, eat healthily. You do not need to carbo-load.
- The night before The Run, eat an easily digestable meal. This should contain carbohydrates such as pasta but there is no need to eat to a point that makes you uncomfortable.
- Drink little and often. You don't want to be paying constant visits to the toilet but you do need to ensure you are hydrated for the start of The Run. Follow hydration tips above.
- Breakfast should be simple and food that you are used to. Porridge, whole-wheat toast and cerals are all good sources of slow-releasing energy.
- Make sure you have a snack ready for after the run - energy bars, cereal bars or fruit will replenish those energy levels.
- Keep drinking after you have finished. Your recovery will be much more effective. Take care not to over hydrate. This can lead to a condition called 'hyponatraemia', the effect which can be fatal.
- After the run a carbohydrate rich snack with some protein is ideal within 30 minutes of finishing. A follow up meal containing protein and carbohydrate should be eaten within 2-4 hours of finishing the event.
As a runner your nutrition requirement vary from less active persons. You need to eat more carbohydrates to refuel, more proteins to repair muscle damage and correct balance of fats and more nutrients as a whole. Additionally you need to consider when to consume your snacks and foods so your fuel tanks don't run low and effect race performance on the day. For some, The Warriors Run is a race, some a personal achievement but for everone it is a severe test of performance, fitness, strenght of mind and body and endurance.
Good luck everyone.
Eat Right & Run Hard!