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Seasonal Eating for Runners – How to Fuel and Hydrate While Training in the Summer

Food is your fuel. You need it to sustain daily activities and to power through your workouts. As runners, we need a combination of carbs, proteins and good fats to keep our bodies strong, healthy and provide us with enough energy to run and hit the times or the distances we want to achieve. While all runners (if you run, you are a “runner”) need carbs, proteins and fats, the amount and type will vary based on seasons. By seasons, we mean your training season (race season) and the actual seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall).

runner water

When you are in training, for a race or to stay/get in shape, AND it’s the summer, your body requires a higher amount of fluids, carbs and proteins. Below we’ve outlined what your body needs during summer training to sustain your athletic endeavors.

Fluids: The general guideline is 6-8 glasses per day or half your body weight in ounces. This differs for each person depending on activity level and the season. During the summer, you sweat more. Thus, you need more water and need to pay attention to replenishing your electrolyte levels. Add Nuun tablets to your water or eat saltier foods post workout. Let your thirst be your guide as to the right amount for you. Remember, if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.

Pre Workout: Drink water and eat a small snack with a higher ratio of carbs and some protein 30 minutes to 1 hour before working out. Carbs are stored in your body as glycogen, which is your body’s most accessible form of energy, thus, you want that fuel to keep you going during a hot summer run. Examples: banana or whole-wheat toast with 1 tbsp. nut butter, or 1 cup cooked oatmeal.

During Workout: Stay hydrated! Aim to take in about 6-8 ounces of water for every 30 minutes of exercise. During the summer, take in extra calories, preferably in the form of simple carbs so they are easily digested and burned. Examples: gels, chews, bars or drinks such as Gatorade.

Post Workout: Quickly replenish lost fluids and electrolytes after a workout. Within 30-60 minutes, eat a simple snack of carbs, protein and good fats. Examples: 1 cup cooked quinoa, recovery shake, pretzels, apple with 1 tbsp. nut butter. This combination helps your body repair your muscles in order to recover faster. Within 60-90 minutes of the snack, eat a well-balanced meal of lean protein, healthy carbs and vegetables. Check out some of our favorite Hot Bird Recipes.

Along with eating for your training season, eat for the season. Summer fruits and vegetables that are in season will benefit you the most. For example, eating watermelon in the summer helps cool you down and satiate thirst. Other summer fruits and veggies that are great for post-workout meals and snacks include sweet peas, corn, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. To find local farmer’s markets and a list of what’s harvested seasonally in your area, go to LocalHarvest.org.

Also Read:

The Big Difference in Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks

Stretches for Runners

Raisin and Nut Quinoa Bowl for Endurance Runners

June 14th, 2013

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