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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting your diet right for the City to Surf

Despite the Winter gloom, it has been great to hear that many people have committed to training for the upcoming running events around Australia. Not only is running one of the biggest calorie burners, there are also fantastic benefits associated with getting out and about, having a regular schedule and eating well to support your training regime.

Naturally, the more you train, the hungrier you are also likely to get and hence getting your diet right is imperative if you are to shift a couple of kg whilst ensuring you have enough energy for your increased training load. Here are my top tips to keep you on track with your diet as you prepare for the upcoming running festival.

1) Try not to cut out too many carbs
You need a little more carb if you are training more than an hour each day or you will find yourself craving sugar. Try recovering with 10-20g of carbs along with protein within 30 min of every run. Good options include yoghurt, a skim milk coffee or protein/carb bar.

2) If you train before breakfast you need carbs at night
Many runners prefer to run on an empty stomach which is fine unless you have not eaten any carbs since lunchtime the day before. Add just 20-30g with 1 potato, ½ cup pasta or rice or some sweet potato and notice how much better you feel during your morning run.

3) Manage the cravings
We get sugar cravings when we have not eaten the right mix of carbs and protein. Manage your post run appetite with a meal replacement shake, protein shake made with skim milk or crackers and cheese with a vegetable – the bulk will keep you full while the mix of carbs and protein will help to regulate your blood glucose levels.

4) Try to not use your running as an excuse to eat more
Sure, running or any exercise can make you a little hungrier but in more cases than not, women in particular use their running as an excuse to eat more. “I went for a run this morning so I deserve a treat” among the common justifications for the extra dessert, cake or sweet treat. Limit your sweet treats to just once or twice a week to gain maximal benefit from your running commitment and tame your appetite with protein rich meal and snack options.

5) Watch the drinks
Vitamin water, sports drinks and juices are a recipe for disaster when it comes to weight control, and very few athletes really NEED them on a daily basis. Stick to water and if you cramp, try adding some salts such as Hydralyte to your water bottle for the anti-cramping effects minus the calories.