Key fuelling and hydration information
When you first start out on your running journey, there is no need to make radical changes to your diet. But as your training increases, it will place additional nutritional demands on your body you will need to make changes…
Fuelling your body with a nutritious and balanced diet to provide it with all the essential nutrients it requires will help you to perform at your best – check out the basics that you need to know below.
Energy for running
When you exercise, the muscles you use rely on stored energy, and the two main fuels the body has stored are carbohydrate and fat. The body’s reserves of carbohydrate (glycogen in the muscles) are limited, but the body’s reserves of fat are less limited. When you become tired it is usually to do with the depletion of the glycogen reserves in the muscles.
Carbohydrate is the most important fuel for an active person. To maintain your energy you need to keep your glycogen stores topped up each day. The best way to do this is to have a low-fat, high-carbohydrate snack or light meal two to three hours before exercise, which will give your stomach time to empty before physical activity.
Start refuelling your energy stores as soon as you have finished exercising. How much refuelling you need will depend on the length of time you have been exercising.
It’s important to drink water before, during and after exercise. There’s no need to drink vast quantities – just enough to ensure you’re not thirsty. Waiting until you are thirsty is not advisable, as you may be dehydrated by then.
Eating a varied diet
For most active people, selecting a wide variety of foods from each of the five major foods groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy) will ensure an adequate consumption of all the essential nutrients the body required. There is no evidence that additional vitamins and minerals will improve performance.