Running is one of today’s healthiest ways to help maintain your body’s physical well-being. It is one good cardiovascular exercise that helps keep good circulation and a healthy heart.
Everybody needs proper nutrition and a healthy diet. This requirement becomes more vital for people who are into health activities like running. This is amplified further for runners who are also into competitions or have special dietary needs.
An average person’s diet normally consists of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fats. They also include such healthy components as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein and heart healthy fats.
The daily calorie consumption of runners can also be modified, depending on the individual’s needs – whether he is maintaining his weight, losing some or gaining some.
Combinations can be tweaked accordingly to suit the individual’s needs.
For instance, a distance runner preparing for a marathon may wish to increase the percentage of carbohydrates in his diet. This is during those periods of intense training where he covers long and grueling distances every week.
On the other hand, a sprinter who is working to improve his muscle mass by way of weight training and other equally intense exercises have to include additional amounts of protein into his diet. This is helpful because proteins can help stimulate muscle growth.
The next factor to consider with regards to people who are into running are calories. There are basic guidelines on the amount of calories an individual should consume regularly.
These are based on the person’s current weight and activity level. For runners who are into intense training, these might not be very accurate.
There are plenty of calorie calculators available online or you can get it from your doctor. Those are ballpark figures on the amount of individual needed calories. They can be good starting points for runners to find out if he is eating enough or not.
An example would be a runner regularly consuming 2500 calories a day and running around 7 to 8 miles daily. If he still feels tired, he may have to increase his calorie intake.
If the runner is already at an ideal weight, he should strive to consume enough calories to maintain his weight.
Lastly, the quality of the calories consumed should also be carefully considered. They have to come from quality sources such as whole grains carbohydrates, lean protein sources, and heart-healthy fats.
The runner could always obtain his calorie requirements from foods rich in sugar and fat. But these food groups are not quality calorie sources. More likely, the runner will get his same amount of calories but he will feel sluggish and may not be able to perform well.
A case in point is a piece of cake that has an equal amount of calories as a turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread. Eating the cake will give him enough calories. However, the sugar in it will trigger the insulin response from his body, which can make him sluggish and less energized.
Nutrition is a very important component in such an activity as running. It is not just a question of energy but also of health.