Fueling yourself well and taking supplements are a vital part of any solid training program. It’s not simply about piling on the miles. If you don’t place importance on what you do in the kitchen, runs can suffer. A proper training diet along with supplements can aid in reducing risk of injury, help with stamina on your runs, promote muscle rebuilding and growth, as well as fight the common fatigue most experience when training.
I’ll be completing the Happy Girl Half Marathon (for the 2nd time) this coming August. However this time I’ll be running it with NOW Foods and I’m so excited! Training is in full force! This will be my first half marathon since 2014. How was it that long ago now?!
Proper fueling and supportive supplements aren’t just for the elite and career runners. Nutrition is the backbone for any healthy training program. You can’t run on empty and training for something like a half takes more out of you than the average workout. Especially in summertime with the heat. You’ll be sweating more, losing precious salt and electrolytes.
So how do I keep my body healthy and ready for intense runs while training? I’ll break it down below.
I am not a certified nutritionist. Before starting a supplement plan it’s best to consult your doctor or healthcare professional. These are my personal opinions based on my running experience.
Fueling for training
Pre & post run
One of the longstanding truths for a solid run is:
- Carbs before a run for stamina, and protein within 30 minutes post run to help muscle recovery. Also, hydrate hydrate hydrate!
You’ll have to play with how soon you can eat prior to a run. I need a pretty empty stomach or I get side aches. My husband on the other hand had a huge dinner the other night and hit the road less than an hour later. Not sure how he does that but it just goes to show everyone is different! Play around with it until you find your perfect window for eating before running.
Daily eating guide for runners
The carb conundrum:
Runners need carbs for fuel, but that does not mean pasta, bread, and chips oh my! In my humble opinion, carbs have been placed a bit too high on the “need” list for runners. The carbs newbie runners feel entitled to often times lead to weight gain. It did for me, and I was far from pleased.
When first starting out I validated unhealthy carbs by saying “I’m running so much that it will all even out in the end”. That would mean stuffing my face with breads, pastas, and a few donuts a week. The things I normally considered “special treats” soon became everyday occurrences. Big-time nope! We need healthy carbs in the form of sprouted breads, sweet potatoes, beans, nuts, veggies and fruits. Plus, eating this way also mean you’re getting vital proteins and fats, which are important for a well balanced diet. I enjoy a mostly paleo way of eating, which works well for my running performance. You can read why I do paleo here. Don’t worry though, I believe in the occasional treat and enjoy donuts and breads in moderation.
supplements for training
Making sure your body gets the proper vitamins and minerals when running is important. With how hard training can be it’s easy to end up depleting your stores faster than a regular diet can maintain. There are a few key items I take daily that I truly know help my performance and overall health.
This post is made possible by NOW foods. All opinions about these high quality products are my own. For more information see my disclosure statement here.
Protein is made of up of amino acids, which are what your body uses to builds muscles. Without protein, it would be impossible to build, maintain, or repair muscle tissue. Because of this I recommend a high quality protein powder. It’s hard to get enough protein without supplementation, especially when exercising at intense levels.
NOW© Sports has a great Grass Fed Whey Protein Concentrate. You can grab it off Amazon here. It come in my favorite flavor, chocolate, but also in vanilla and even unflavored. They also have a plant-based protein for my veggie lovers out there!
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I keep my protein shakes simple because I’d rather eat my calories, ya know what I’m saying? 😉 Thankfully, my shake rings is at about 303 calories, (120 from the powder itself) and the rest from my add-ins.
Eryn’s Easy Protein Shake:
- 1 scoop NOW© Sports protein powder
- 1/2 medium ripe banana
- 1 Tbsp nut butter of your choice. I’ve been loving this lately.
- 1 cup almond milk. I use this brand.
- Water if needed
- You can always incorporate a few more add-ins like spinach or kale if you want!
Place in blender and blend until smooth. Simple, tasty, super easy!
One of the things I learned all about on my trip to NOW Foods in Chicago this past May was L-Carnitine . What L-Carnitine does is shuttle fatty acids from the blood into the mitochondria, so that the fatty acids can be used as energy.* If you want to use fat as a fuel as efficiently and effectively as possible (And who doesn’t, right?) you could use an L-carnitine supplement*. It also helps improve endurance by inhibiting the buildup of lactic acid, one of the primary causes of fatigue.* And if that’s not enough, it’s also been shown to reduce the accumulation of metabolic wastes during exercise.* This helps increase workload intensity during exercise and enhancing recovery.* I take this daily and love the citrus flavor!
Branched Chain Amino Acids are needed when your body runs low on glycogen stores.* Your body can’t produce BCAAs on its own so it relies on them from your diet. BCAAs are great for endurance & recovery. NOW© BCAA Big 6 is caffeine-free and supports muscle retention and recovery, and contains betaine to help maintain fluid balance during exercise.* It also has taurine, which can further support endurance.*
One of the things I truly love about NOW as a company is they don’t use harmful dyes to color their products. The use of dyes in performance products in the health industry is extremely common, dangerous in my opinion, and honestly infuriating.
that’s the basics for food and supplements!
There’s always the chance there might be a few more supplements you end up incorporating. You could even dial-in your diet, making it even more specific. But I caution, there’s something to be said for overcomplicating. Make it too hard and you’re less likely to follow through. Play around in the kitchen until you feel you’ve found that special balance. We all have one, and believe me, they’re all a little (or a lot) different. This is a base point most people can start with. So I encourage you, go for it!
What can you not live without when training? Leave your answer in the comments!
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.