If you’d like to build up your running distance and start to run further, one of the things you can do is take a look at your diet and nutrition. Long-distance running is aerobic in nature, and to manage this activity successfully over an extended period, you’ll need significant stamina and strength. What you eat and drink can help you physically prepare for this endurance-based exercise. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some top tips on how to run further.
How to Run Further: Increase Stamina
Stamina is what allows you to sustain such an intense physical activity over time, and there are many foods you can incorporate into your diet that promote greater stamina, which in turn will help you run further. Here are just some you should consider as part of your nutrition plan:
- Nuts – Because nuts are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which improve blood flow to working muscles – they are a great choice for people looking to build stamina.
- Brown rice – You don’t want to use all your energy in the first kilometre! Brown rice is ideal as it contains complex carbohydrates which release energy slowly.
- Fatty fish – The Omega-3 found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna will help you sleep better, according to Psychology Today. This will ensure you’re rested to run. It also contains vitamin B12, which reduces fatigue, which is key in helping you to run further.
How to Run Further: Prevent injury and recover More Quickly
To help you run further and faster, you must train consistently. Injury can be a very unwelcome interruption to your training plan! Thankfully, there are ways to improve your diet to reduce the potential impact of injury and recover more quickly. For example:
According to Absolute Collagen, collagen provides “structural support, strength and a degree of elasticity” to the body. You can see how that might be helpful in the case of an injury! Collagen-rich foods include chicken and egg whites.
Consuming enough zinc-rich foods can help shorten the healing process after an injury. It’s better to get this mineral from food than supplements, so you avoid copper deficiency. Why not incorporate whole grains into your diet?
During the healing process, you’ll probably feel hungry. This is your body reminding you to consume fuel for your recovery. This, combined with a sharp reduction in your exercise time may, however lead to weight gain. Avoid this by eating fibre-rich foods such as broccoli, spinach, and fruit instead of unhealthy snacks. You’ll be a long-distance runner again in no time!
Supplements to consider
It’s advisable to consult with a doctor before adding any supplements to your nutrition plan. If you’re not getting enough of these in your diet, however, you might consider taking some supplements to enjoy their benefits:
- Protein: Helps you build the lean muscle mass you need to run for extended periods.
- Omega 3: Reduces inflammation and increases recovery time after a run.
- Magnesium: Known to reduce lactic acid and improve athletic performance.
- Vitamin D: Strengthens bones and improves cardiovascular health.
How to Run Further: Hydration
Running for extended periods will cause you to sweat, meaning you lose body fluids. Therefore, you weigh less after a run than you did before it. To replenish, Brigham Health Hub suggests that you should drink 20 to 24 ounces of water for each pound of body weight lost. You shouldn’t drink this all at once. Instead, you should sip throughout the day.
If you run for more than an hour, you should drink water at regular intervals. Avoid sugary sports drinks unless you heavily dilute them. Have you experienced nausea or dizziness during or after a run? This is a sign that your body needs electrolytes. The good news is that you can buy electrolyte tables containing sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium to add to your water.
How to run Further: What to eat
Before a run
Eat something that’s low in fat but high in low glycemic carbohydrates. This is important as low glycemic does not cause a spike in blood sugar; instead, they have a slower effect. A light but filling meal such as porridge with fruit would be ideal nourishment before you hit the road.
During a run
Remember, you need to drink water regularly if you’re running for more than an hour. If you’re running for over 90 minutes, BBC Good Food emphasises the importance of replenishing your carbohydrate stores. Gummy sweets should keep you going, or dried fruits if you’d prefer a healthier option.
After a run
In the 30 minutes after your run, make sure you recharge with a snack that’s packed full of protein and carbs. You might prepare a fruit smoothie or a protein shake before you leave and enjoy it as soon as you return. If it’s dinner time, something like salmon with brown rice and asparagus has everything your body needs to recover. All this will help you run further and, above all, faster!