Properly fueling your long run is key to a successful run. Most long runs take place in the early morning,
so a good breakfast is key in providing the needed macronutrients for the long haul. There is no one perfect pre-run food for runners, because runners are all so different. Between allergies, GI issues, and various likes and dislikes, it's almost impossible to say eat exactly this or that. Instead a runner needs to make sure he/she is getting the proper caloric intake as well as the proper balance of carbohydrates and protein. 200-400 calories is a good number of calories to take in about 1 to 1.5 hours before your long run.You want more easily digestible carbs than protein. a 3;1 OR 4:1 carbs to protein ratio is good. The carbs will provide the glycogen which is the fuel for your muscles. The protein will work to help begin the rebuilding process. This same carb/protein ratio is also great for your post run-recovery snack.
I've prepared the following video to show you three simple-to-make breakfast meals that I eat before my long runs.
Here are a few more pre-run fueling ideas from my book Full-Body Fitness for Runners.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Whether you call them Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas, this funny sounding food is packed with great nutrition particularly for a runner. Chickpeas are a fiber-rich food. Fiber-rich foods not only help keep you regular, but they help you feel full longer. Fiber (especially soluble fiber as found in chickpeas) helps to lower blood cholesterol and slow the absorption of sugar. So, if you're diabetic, this is a great food for you. As for runners, chickpeas contain calcium and magnesium. Calcium is needed for muscle contraction and magnesium is needed for bone maintenance as well as proper function of nerves and muscles. Chickpeas are also packed with potassium. This heart-healthy macronutrient and electrolyte is needed for a contracted muscle to relax. So, as a runner, keeping your potassium stores topped off helps stave off possible muscle cramps from depleted potassium stores lost through perspiration. And to top it off , they're a good source of vegetable protein. Chances are you've eaten Hummus , a popular middle eastern spread. Hummus is actually Arabic for chickpea. Hummus is readily available at your local grocery store and is also easy to make at home. Click here for a simple recipe. Chickpeas also make a great addition to any salad or pasta dish. Added to a salad, chickpeas add a hearty meaty texture and because of the high fiber, makes a salad more filling and satisfying. My family makes a great Chicken Primavera that incorporates chickpeas and it's awesome! Check out the recipe here.
When you think of lower-body exercises, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves are the top-of-mind muscle groups to work, right? Well, yes and no. Each of these muscle groups are important and depending on the runner one group may need to be worked more than another. But, there's an entirely different group of muscles that often get overlooked by most runners. These muscles (abductors and adductors) are found laterally on the outside and inside of the legs. There is not one abductor and one adductor muscle, rather they are a collection of different muscles that work to pull the legs away from or toward the body or to create internal or external rotation of the leg. They also work to provide stability and balance in the lower body. The glute medius muscle is a hip-abductor muscle that provides stability in the whole pelvic region when walking and running. It's when this muscle is tight or weak that often results in runners knee. Adductors running down the inside of the leg help provide stability as well as help with acceleration when running. Adductors are the only muslces in the lower-body that are continuously firing throughout the entire running stride cycle. Keeping these muscle groups well conditioned will not only help make you a more efficient runner, it will help decrease the chance of injury and falling. The video below shows five simple exercises that are very effective in working your abductor and adductor muscles. Check it out!
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Like yesterday's Lower-Body/Core HIIT, this Upper-Body/Core HIIT workout is perfect for runners. A HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout doesn't take much time, but gives a lot of bang for your bucks. The workout consists of 6 exercises-3 core and 3 upper-body. Complete each exercise for 20 secs moving from one exercise directly into the next exercise, taking no rest in between. After completing the 6th exercise, take a 1-minute rest break, then repeat the HIIT in the same fashion for a total of 5 rounds. The whole workout takes only 20 minutes. This format jacks up the heart rate ramping up your metabolism. The exercised selected in this workout target the core and upper-body muscle groups that help support and ensure good running form. The only equipment needed is a mat (or carpeted area) and some light dumbbells. Give it a try! Tomorrow I'll post some great lateral movement lower-body exercises that help prevent injury and increase stability and balance, all important to good running, so check that one out too! Check out my other workouts for runners on YouTube.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Running and pasta are like Bert & Ernie, Yin & Yang, Lavern & Shirley, Thelma & Louise. That's all well and fine. Pasta is a great source of carbs for fueling your runs, but did you know that thepotato is a nutritious source of carbohydrates, even more than rice or pasta? Yep, this often shunned veggie has gotten a bad wrap in the whole anti-carb movement. Like many foods, it's how you prepare it that makes or breaks the nutritional value of the spud. Cover it with butter, melted cheese, and bacon bits and you've created "food porn." Bake it and top it with a dollop of Greek yogurt and voilà, nutritious yumminess! Sport nutritionist Nancy Clark supports the spud too. She shares that this super veggie is a great source of Vitamin C (gives 1/2 of your daily needs) and provides the potassium you'd lose in three hours of sweaty exercise. It's cousin the sweet potato provides even more health benefits! A standard potato (like you'd get with a restaurant meal) contains around 200 calories. That's about the same as most sports bars. The spud makes a great pre-and post-run snack as well as a part of a meal. Pre-baked spuds that are sliced and refrigerated make great snacks before or after a run. In her book, NancyClark's Food Guide for Marathoners, she gives some great ideas for potato toppers such as low-fat salad dressing; low-fat sour cream, chopped onion, and low-fat shredded cheddar cheese; cottage cheese and garlic powder; milk mashed into the potato; plain yogurt (I like using the Greek yogurt. It's very similar to sour cream); flavored vinegars; soy sauce; steamed veggies like broccoli; chopped jalapeno peppers; lentils or lentil soup (I like topping it with veggie chili or black beans); applesauce. Worried about the potato being high on the Glycemic Index? Valid concern, but did you know that when you pair the spud with certain foods, it actually lowers its GI? Adding healthy fats to your spud such as olive oil, sour cream or avocados, will lower the GI. Increasing the acidity by adding vinegar, citrus or salsa lowers the GI of the spud too. Eating the potato with the skin on increased the fiber slowing digestion and lowering the GI. Oddly enough, cooking the potato, then cooling it before you eat it, lowers the GI. So, give the spud a try!!
This Lower-Body/Core HIIT workout is perfect for runners. A HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout doesn't take much time, but gives a lot of bang for your bucks. The workout consists of 6 exercises-3 core and 3 lower-body. Complete each exercise for 20 secs moving from one exercise directly into the next exercise, taking no rest in between. After completing the 6th exercise, take a 1-minute rest break, then repeat the HIIT in the same fashion for a total of 5 rounds. The whole workout takes only 20 minutes. This format jacks up the heart rate ramping up your metabolism. The exercised selected in this workout target the core and all the major muscle groups in the lower body. The only equipment needed is a mat (or carpeted area) and a medicine ball. Don't have a medicine ball? No problem, use a large detergent bottle or fill an empty 1-gallon milk jug with water to use as your weight. Give it a try! Tomorrow I'll post an Upper-Body/Core HIIT for Runners, so check that one out too! Check out my other workouts for runners on YouTube.