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The Runner’s Lifestyle
I. Nutrition and Hydration – Five Simple Rules
Rule 1. Keep it Natural
Superior health is the foundation for fitness and athletic performance. Eating for health should therefore be the
primary objective of your diet as an athlete. The majority of foods you eat should be as natural and minimally
processed as possible. As a general rule, the shorter the list of ingredients in a food product, the better. Refined
sugar, fried foods and processed oils should have the smallest place in your diet.
Balance is also important. No single food has all the nutrients you need for optimal health, so it's important to eat a
variety of different food types every day. Use these guidelines to ensure your diet has adequate balance.
Fruits and vegetables
Recommended servings per day
What's a serving?
7 to 9; strive for one serving more of
veggies than fruit.
1/2 cup veggies
1 cup leafy veggies
1 apple, banana,
orange, etc.
1/2 cup berries
1 slice bread
6 to 8; make most, if not all, of them 1/2 cup cooked rice or
whole grains.
1 cup breakfast cereal
Legumes (lentils, soybeans, chickpeas,
kidney beans, etc.), nuts, seeds
4 to 5; limit nuts to 1 to 2 servings.
1/2 cup cooked
1/3 cup nuts
3; opt for those low in saturated fats.
1 cup milk or yogurt
1 1/2 ounces cheese
Lean meats, poultry, eggs
1 to 2
3 ounces cooked
3 to 6 per week
3 ounces cooked
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Rule 2. Eat Frequently
Athletes in all sports benefit from developing a lean body composition, where muscle is preserved or added and
excess fat stores are whittled away. Frequent eating (four to six meals and snacks per day) is a dietary pattern that's
proven to assist athletes in getting leaner, independent of total calories consumed or macronutrient breakdown.
When you divide your daily calories into more meals, you're less likely to consume more calories than you need to
supply your body's immediate energy needs. As a result, fewer excess calories are stored as body fat. Here's a
sample six-times-a-day eating schedule: A good goal is to try to have eaten more calories than you have burned until
the last two or three hours of the day.
7 a.m. Breakfast (do not skip breakfast, and make sure to include protein -eggs, dairy, meat)
10 a.m. Healthy snack (fruit, nuts, low-fat yogurt, etc.) – (activity period in my room - 204)
12 a.m. Lunch
3 p.m. Healthy snack (perhaps a quick granola bar before practice)
6 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m. Healthy snack
Rule 3. Hydrate
When you work out, you sweat; and when you sweat, you lose body fluid that must be replaced. Failure to fully
rehydrate between workouts will compromise your recovery and your performance in subsequent workouts.
Drinking during a prolonged workout or race (lasting an hour or more), especially in the heat, will help you delay
fatigue and reduce the risk of heat illness.
Athletes should drink approximately one gallon of water per day. This water is best taken in small servings
scattered throughout the day. The exact amount of water that each individual needs will vary based on body weight,
the temperature, and the intensity/duration of the workout. A good rule of thumb is to drink enough throughout the
day to keep your urine pale yellow to clear in color.
Rule 4. Eat for Recovery
When you finish a workout, many of your muscle fibers are damaged from exertion, your muscle fuel stores are low,
and you're at least slightly dehydrated. Nutrition is required to rebuild and refuel your muscles and rehydrate your
body. Specifically, you need protein for tissue repair, carbohydrate to restock your muscles with fuel, and water to
The sooner you supply your body with these nutrients, the better. In the first hour after exercise, the muscles in
particular are able to use nutrients for recovery much more effectively than at any other time. A study from
Vanderbilt University found that the leg muscles were able to rebuild and refuel nearly three times faster when a
carbohydrate-protein supplement was consumed immediately after a one-hour stationary bike ride than when the
same supplement was consumed three hours after the same workout.
Food/drink containing carbs, protein and plain water are as effective as any expensive supplement. Strive for a 4-1
ratio of carbs to protein. Chocolate Milk is a cheap and convenient post-workout recovery drink with a 4-1 ratio.
Rule 5. Avoid Common Deficiencies
These deficiencies have negative consequences not only for athletic performance but also for general health.
Fortunately, they're all easily avoided with a balanced diet. An easy way to cover the basics is a multivitamin and
omega 3 fish oil pills (with parental consent).
It is important to avoid smoking, drinking, and all illegal drugs. In addition to being against our team rules and
school policies they hurt your performance can lead to vitamin deficiencies and dehydration.
Consequences of not getting enough
How to get what you need
B vitamins
(particularly B-12)
Reduced athletic performance
Eat three servings of meat, fish and/or eggs daily. Vegetarians:
Take a daily vitamin B-complex supplement.
Increased susceptibility to bone
strains and stress fractures
Eat three servings of low-fat/non-fat dairy foods daily.
Fatigue, anemia
Make iron-rich foods such as tuna and chicken spinach a regular
part of your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids
May compromise recovery
Supplement a balanced diet with omega-3-rich fish oil, flax oil
and walnuts,
II. Rest and Recovery
Good sleep habits are crucial to the success of the training plan. Adequate sleep (8-10 hours per day) is essential to
permit regeneration. Also, adequate sleep, especially in the hours before midnight is necessary to allow recovery
from exercise. (USATF Track & Field Coaching Education Manual 27)
III. Stretching and Strength Training
Stretching before and after your workout will increase your flexibility and decrease your risk of injury. Stretching,
especially after your run will allow you to recover at a faster rate and decrease muscle stiffness/soreness.
Weight Training will strengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments which greatly decreases your risk of injury.
Our “core routine” will strengthen your “core” muscles (abdominals, lower back, oblique and hips) which will allow
you to keep good form even when you begin to tire during a race. Your “core” is literally the driving force behind
your stride.
IV. Proper Shoes
The most critical piece of equipment for a runner is a good pair of running shoes. We strongly recommend Big
River Running because the experts at the store will ensure that the pair of shoes you purchase fit your needs as a
runner. They will actually watch you run in the shoes to make sure it fits properly and allows you to run with
correct form. For more information on Big River Running, please visit the website at
Big River - West County
Big River - South City
Big River - O'Fallon
14059 Manchester Road, Manchester, MO 63011 5352 Devonshire, St. Louis, MO 63109 2548 Hwy K, O'Fallon, MO 63368
Store Hours: Mon. - Fri. 10am - 8pm, Sat. 10am - 6pm, Sun. 12pm - 5pm