In our previous two articles, we have talked about running routines, rest days, and the proper ways to workout to train for long-distance running. In this article, we will discuss the proper nutritional dieting habits to keep in mind while training.
Another important thing to keep in mind for those looking to build muscle while training cardio, is that running and working out without eating enough protein, can cause muscle loss. When the body needs energy, the first thing it does is begin to break down the ADP in the body, which is either carbs broken down or essentially the basic sugars we need. This is used first, then your body will switch to trying to break down carbs and the energy stored in fat. But for muscle rebuilding, your body needs protein. When you are sore and your body is repairing the muscle, it will first try to use any protein available from recently eaten food. If it is not available, than your body will have the use protein from muscle not currently being repaired to strengthen the necessary area. You will still need to do weight-training or sprints to build muscle, but proper nutrition can ensure you don’t lost muscle.
This usage of stored or available energy is why they tell you to eat complex carbohydrates the day before heavy exercise. This is because the fact that it is not simple sugar or a simple to break down carb, it takes a while for it to be broken down, and when it is, it stores a lot more energy than other food sources. So the next day when your body needs energy, they are just being made available. Remember that there is a lot more than just pasta that has complex carbohydrates. These include green veggies like spinach or green beans, anything whole grain including bread and oatmeal. Potatoes and corn are great, which is a reason why lean meat like turkey or chicken and potatoes is such a perfect food for recovery. You need to keep in mind that you will be burning a serious amount of calories while training long periods of time, so make sure you get enough calories as well. A good idea is to look up daily caloric intake calculators, so that you can see exactly how much calories you burn in a day training the amount you do, and taking into account height and weight. This will tell you how many calories you need a day to stay at the same weight.
We already went over the importance of sleep in the last article, but it is part of building the right habits. To ensure you get your sleep on track, turn off phones and devices an hour before bed, don’t drink caffeine after 5, open a window to allow natural light to encourage natural wakefulness in the morning, and stay consistent, with workouts to tire you and your sleep schedule.
Avoid sugary foods, as that energy will only create crashes when you need energy the most. Avoid drinking caffeine for energy during runs, and avoid smoking or anything that damages the lungs. Another thing to keep in mind is that alcohol can disrupt your body’s ability to repair muscle effectively, decreasing the amount of gains made during a workout. Hopefully with all of this in mind, you are well on your way to finishing(or kicking butt) at your first big race.
If you would like more information about nutrition and training for long distance running, visit STR8 Training in San Marcos, TX.