Jeff Galloway has a new book out, Nutrition for Runners. It covers topics such as what runners need to eat, your fat-burning tool kit, trouble-shooting performance problems, choosing the best shoes for you and much, much more. The following discussion is from Author and runner Jeff Galloway with nutritionist and Author Nancy Clark.
Q: How can a runner take control of eating and avoid overeating?
A: You can take control of your nutritional destiny by having a cognitive strategy for eating (or any other activity). This shifts control out of the subconscious brain and into the frontal lobe. As you focus on what you eat, how much and when the conscious brain overrides the SBC brain. This interrupts embedded emotional subconscious eating patterns and gives you a chance to choose foods that will keep you energized and healthy, while you avoid overeating. By having an eating plan, you can combine the foods you need to balance your nutrients, keep the energy supply flowing, and avoid dehydration. (Excerpted from page 11, Nutrition for Runners by Jeff Galloway)
Q: How do you keep your blood sugar levels normal?
A: Your brain is fueled by blood sugar. When the blood sugar level is at a good, moderate, normal level, you feel good, stable, and motivated.
The simple act of eating about 100 calories within 30 minutes before running can reduce the negative, make you feel good, and get you out of the door. The standard recommendation is 2 calories per pound bodyweight within 5–60 minutes per-exercise. A simple solution is to eat grains instead of simple sugars or combine protein with carbs. Once you establish which snacks work best to maintain your blood sugar level (BSL), most runners maintain a stable BSL by eating small meals regularly, every 2-3 hours. It’s best to combine grains, fruits, and vegetables with protein and a small amount of fat. (Excerpted from pages 27-29, Nutrition for Runners by Jeff Galloway)
Q: What are the best foods for energy?
A: By eating grains, fruits, and vegetables as the foundation of each meal, you’ll consume about 55-65% of your calories from carbohydrates. This is exactly what you need for a high-energy sports diet. These carbohydrates are stored in muscles in the form of glycogen, the energy you need to train hard day after day, and to compete well on race day. (Excerpted from page 45, Nutrition for Runners by Nancy Clark, RD)
Like carbohydrates, protein-rich foods are also an important part of your sports diet. You should eat a protein-rich food at each meal.
Whereas some marathoners frequently choose pepperoni pizza, fast food burgers, and other meals filled with saturated fats, other runners bypass these foods in their efforts to eat a low-fat or vegetarian diet – but they neglect to replace beef with beans. (Excerpted from page 52, Nutrition for Runners by Nancy Clark, RD)
Q: How does fat accumulate?
A: Eating more calories than are burned off, day after day, promotes fat deposition.
While men tend to deposit fat on the surface of the skin, women (particularly in their 20s and 30s) fill up internal storage areas first. Young women use the “pinch test” to check fat levels and aren’t concerned until the hidden fat areas are somewhat full and the fat spills on to the surface of the body. (Excerpted from pages 108 & 109, Nutrition for Runners by Jeff Galloway)
Q: How can we stay injury free?
A: Because running and walking are activities that enabled our ancient ancestors to survive, we have the ability to adapt to these two patterns of motion if we use these principles:
- Walk or run at a gentle pace – and insert walk breaks from the beginning.
- Schedule sufficient rest between each workout.
- Exercise regularly – about every other day.
- When increasing exercise, do so very gradually, and reduce the intensity of the longer workout.
The single greatest reason for improvement in running is not getting injured. (Excerpted from page 217, Nutrition for Runners by Jeff Galloway).
This guest post is from Author Jeff Galloway and Author Nancy Clark, MS, RD. Jeff was an average teenage runner who kept learning and working harder until he became an Olympian. He is the author of the best-selling running book in North America (Galloway’s Book on Running) and is a Runner’s World columnist, as well as an inspirational speaker for more than 200 running and fitness sessions each year.
Nancy Clark is a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in nutrition for sports performance. Her private practice is in the Boston area, where she helps runners and other athletes of all ages and abilities to win with good nutrition. Her best-selling Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook has sold over 500,000 copies.