Best Carbohydrates for Runners
We’ve all heard that the best way to prepare for a race is by loading up the body with carbohydrates. While “carbo-loading” is a practice for many athletes, foods with a lot of carbohydrates make the best food for runners.
So which foods are the best for runners to eat before, during, and after the big race?
1. Before – Pasta
About seven days before your race, take time to stock up your glycogen levels with bowls of pasta.. Brown pastas and rice are the perfect slow-burning complex carbs to give your muscles that extra stored energy. Be sure not to overload on the pasta each nice and finish up your meal by 7:00PM. While fiber is great to keep your body regulated for exercise, too much fiber can be a pain for your lower intestines. Add some protein like chicken or pork to and iron with spinach to keep your hemoglobin and energy levels balanced as well.
2. During – Nuts and Dried Fruits
After 90 minutes of running or heavy exercise your glycogen levels will be depleted by a significant amount. While you can’t order an entree of pasta mid-race, there are some easy ways to get those carbs to keep you going. Having some nuts like peanuts or almonds handy will help the glycogen store back up in your muscles. Nuts are full of Omega-3, and CoQ10, which helps cells produce energy. Dried fruits like raisins are also a great choice. All of the natural sugars and carbohydrates will keep your energy going without that sugary crash or fatigue that some energy drinks give the body.
3. After – Quinoa
Once you’ve finished the race and get enough water to replenish your tired muscles, get your hands on some quinoa. If you try and eat another plate of pasta you’ll probably find that your stomach a little upset. Quinoa offers just the right amount of fast-releasing and slow-burning carbohydrates for your body’s cool down without crashing. As a bonus, it contains more magnesium, fiber, and iron than brown rice or brown pasta.
Of course there are plenty of other foods with carbohydrates that will give your body the energy it needs to get out there. Find the best plan for you and your body and get prepared for race day!