Today I want to share my favorite foods for the long run.When it comes to running a long run, proper carb intake and hydration in the days leading to your long run is essential. Lots of runners have actually stopped consuming huge amounts of pasta before they hit the road for a long run or race.
High quality complex carbohydrates are slowly becoming the norm for pre run fueling. Nutritional research is showing that high complex starchy carbs and whole grains store energy much deeper within the cells than regular simple carbohydrates. That way your body has access to these nutrients long after any simple carbohydrates would have burned off already which is leaving your body tired and depleted much faster. When you know you will run let’s say Saturday a long run of 10 miles, you should start mid week to add more quality carbohydrates into your diet. The same goes for proper hydration. Your cells have the capability to absorb and store energy and fluids for days, so it makes the most sense to provide them with high quality fuel that can keep you going.
While you should always make sure you are drinking enough fluids each and every day, knowing a long run is coming up in the days ahead, you should opt your water intake even more. When you are well hydrated you will feel more energized and less fatigues during your run. You are also less injury prone, including less muscle cramps and spasms.
My #1 favorite carb for the long run are Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet Potatoes are a super food.
They are an excellent source of starch, and therefore of energy.
Sweet potatoes provide some protein, vitamin C and E and a huge amount of beta-carotene. The fiber in sweet potatoes helps regulate blood sugar, which is also important when it comes to running. A fast crash in blood sugar levels can rob you off your energy and stamina fast.
Sweet Potato are best eaten boiled, mashed or baked. I have learned to love love my Sweet potatoes simply with sea salt, pepper, cinnamon or even pumpkins spice, a few tablespoons of almond milk and sometimes with some maple syrup. Yum!
Did you know that Farro was the oldest cultivated grain in the world?
I have first read about Farro many years ago when I first started running in Runner’s Magazine. Many times it was referred to as one of the favorite carb choice for many long distance Runners. Farro is a wonderful complex whole grain, full of fiber, vitamin A, B, C and E.
Farro does contain gluten but the gluten molecules in Farro are weaker than those of wheat, which make it easier on your digestion.
Farro is rich in protein, fiber , vitamin A, B, C and E. It really is a super whole grain. I prepare Farro the same way as I prepare my brown rice.
I love it pretty plain with some sea salt, pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil.
Love the flavor oft this simple and nutritious side dish!
I don’t think you can mention a list of best running foods without mentioning the ever classic banana.
Banana in itself is the perfect starchy snack and for the sake of super convenience it comes in its own package. It really is the perfect fast food.
Bananas are perfect for physically active people. They are full nutrients, especially potassium, which we tend to lack when sweating a lot. Their high content of potassium helps prevent cramps and their high starch content provides you with great energy during a long run.
Instant Coconut Water
I am such a big coconut water lover. I think it’s one if the best replenishing fluids on the planet. As a runner in general I always have to make sure that my potassium and electrolyte levels are up, otherwise I feels fatigued, light headed and even dizzy. This is especially true when running throughout the hot Summer months. Replenishing my potassium levels before and after a long run is of high importance.
Coconut water contains very high levels of potassium – even way more than sports drinks.
That’s why after drinking a glass of coconut water you feel so regenerated.
It really does feel like a life saver sometimes. 🙂
I was happy when I found a new instant variety recently. I simply put one of these in my pocket or running belt and I can fill up my water bottle with coconut water anywhere and anytime. Keep in mind that coconut water alone does not provide enough sodium for runs longer than an hour, so in addition to coconut water you need to replenish your body with sodium as well.
Note: All these foods are also great for replenishing your muscles and cells after a long run. The right ratio of complex carbohydrates and protein is important for muscle recovery!