Education Series: Nutrition (1 of 14)
The hottest topic in running between 2008 and 2012 was minimalist footwear. The hot topic since: NUTRITION. This will be the introduction to a series of presentations on nutrition, helping you educate yourself and make decisions about your training-and-eating relationship:
What do you eat during training?
What about race day? Are you vegan? Organic? Paleo…vegetarian…European…low carb, high carb, whole food, raw food, whole wheat, flour free, or just any food that lands in front of you? What about electrolytes, supplements, vitamins, minerals, protein powders, and shakes? Doughnuts? BEER??? There are innumerable opinions on the topic and they all seem to contradict each other. So if you’re a new runner entering the sport or a veteran runner trying to “change your ways,” who do you listen to?
- Listen to yourself. Your body will tell you what it needs, the key is to know the signals when you get them. For example if you suffer from frequent gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort you should consider foods which are less processed, i.e. whole fruits and vegetables. If you experience frequent fatigue and an achy restlessness you may be chronically dehydrated and need more fresh water. There are a million things to learn from your own body, and we’ll cover the most important.
- Be vigilant. The signs are often subtle and often speak to multiple deficiencies. You may be chronically dehydrated and consuming too much protein. The result is a heavy bowel and early exhaustion during exercise. So be open to the possibility you could have several areas of your diet that need attention. There is no single secret to good health so don’t expect there to be one single secret to helping yourself feel and run better.
- Variety. Whole food diets are considered the pinnacle of healthy eating: vegan, Paleo, or vegetarian, e.g. The truth is your body needs elements of all these diets. You are a vast machine of chemical reactions, each requiring a specific set of ingredients. Diets don’t need to come as strict one-size-fits-all menu’s. Your best path might be to choose a few items from each diet to create your own personal menu!
- Consume correct Carb/Protein/Fat ratios. In the most basic sense this is the key to good nutrition. Consuming the proper ratios of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats together will fuel your body, improve recovery rates, and improve your overall health.
- Plan for Race Day. Do not show up on race day and just expect there to be proper nutrition available. Plan ahead: find out what will the race provide, if it’s right for you, and if you should bring something to carry for yourself. These are critical assessments if you want to avoid hitting the “wall,” or worse, hitting the bushes and port-o-lets along the way.
Each of the coming presentations will tackle individual pieces of the nutrition puzzle. We’ll provide you pro’s and con’s of many fueling and dietary strategies so you can make your best choices. Check back – the first topic will be Run-Specific Fuel Needs.
This series will be authored by Brandon Mader,
- PowerBar Team Elite runner since 2010
- 7-time top-15 finisher at World and National Championship events (half-marathon & marathon)
- Master of Science in Medical Physics from Duke University
- Runner since 1999
- Coach since 2004