4 ways to maximise your run, according to a dietitian

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Welcome to mybodyandsoul.com.au’s Running School! Over the coming week we’ll provide with you tricks, tips and inspiring stories that will make you want to dusk off those sneakers and get running. Enjoy!

Whether you’re running goals this season are simply about hitting that first 5km, or you’re hoping for a new marathon PB, maximizing your workouts to help reach your goals is likely pretty high on your list.

Here are my four top tips to help you maximize your training sessions, to help you reach your goals sooner:

1. Fuel well for your training session

It’s so easy to under fuel…or over fuel. Getting your nutrition right before your training session or event will help a number of factors, not just improved sports performance. Fuelling well assists with delaying onset of fatigue, improving speed and endurance, better concentration and decision making and improved body composition.

So what are you looking for in a pre-training or event meal? Carbs are king when it comes to providing adequate fuel for your training, be it cardiovascular or resistance based exercise. Of course, it does depend on your goals, and your training session.

When it comes to running training, it is a good idea to:

  • Include some fasted running sessions, usually for shorter training sessions
  • Include some fed sessions, where something is eaten before.
  • For resistance based exercise, inclusion of carbohydrate and potentially inclusion of protein

Some easy examples are:

  • Banana
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Muesli and milk
  • Toast with peanut butter
  • Yoghurt with fruit

It’s important to take portion size for each of the above suggestions into consideration, as requirements will vary based on activity itself (including duration and effort), body size, and how long before the activity the food or drink is being consumed.

2. Recover Well

Recovering well is essential, particularly if there is more than one training session included in the day. Effective recovery reduces fatigue and muscle soreness, and improves performance in your next session.

Consuming a mix of protein and carbohydrate within approximately 30 minutes of finishing your training session is suggested to maximize this process. Whilst it does depend on activity, 15-30g of protein which includes 2-3g of leucine, and 1-1.2g/kg of carbohydrate is recommended. What does this mean in food terms?

  • Smoothie made with milk and fruit
  • Muesli and yoghurt or milk
  • Eggs on toast
  • Salmon and sweet potato
  • Chicken sandwich

3. Hydrate

2 per cent dehydration can result in slower pace, increased fatigue and reduced skill ability. As such, dehydration is the single biggest killer of poor sports performance. Sipping on water throughout the day, and having it available during training sessions is suggested.

How much do you need? Check the colour of your urine on a routine basis; aiming for it to be a pale yellow, or nearly colourless. In most instances, this helps identify good hydration.

4. Get enough sleep

More and more research indicates that poor sleep negatively impacts sports performance. Sleeping less than six hours per night for four or more nights in a row impairs cognitive performance and mood. Lack of sleep results in slower and less accurate cognitive function, such as slower motor skills, or decision making skills. All of these can impact your running performance.

While we’re on the topic, here’s how to how to train for your first marathon. Plus, Sam Wood’s tips for running in the dark and staying safe.

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Fitness | body+soul

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