Runners and Carbs: Let Us Eat Bread!

My notorious banana bread :) A favorite among runners and athletes alike.
My notorious banana bread 🙂 A favorite among runners and athletes alike.

Long-distance runners are known to carb-load. This is a fact; runners need the carbs in order to perform, plain and simple. But exactly how much do we need? And how much protein is needed for the muscles to recover? You’re in luck if you were wondering since that is exactly what we’re covering in today’s post 🙂

Check the research

Research states that ” if you regularly participate in heavy endurance training at high intensities, you require 0.7 to 0.9 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day” (Coleman). Coleman further states that runners require “2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbs per pound for light to moderate training that last less than one hour, 3.2 to 4.5 grams per pound for heavy training at high intensity,” and these statistics are based off The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. If I am only running 4 miles on a given day, I might want to take 2.6 grams of carbs per pound. Me weighing 113-114, we’re talking 296 grams of carbs! I’ve always been a huge advocate of cereal and energy bars, and one cup of Honey Nut Cheerios gets you nearly 30 grams of carbs already! Even then. This is a very difficult number to achieve and it seems like a lot. What does a healthy, satisfying day look like with around 300 grams of carbs?

Based off the assumption that I ran at 6 AM, without eating prior to run.

Post Run Breakfast- Oiko’s Vanilla Greek yogurt w/ package of Belvita crackers (36 g.) Banana later in morning (27 g.)

Lunch- Turkey sandwich with whole wheat Sara Lee bread (25 g.), medium banana (27 g.) OR tomato soup (16-20 g.), pita chips (20 g.)

Snack- Large honeycrisp apple (30 g.) with Cup of cantolope (13 g.)OR smoothie made w/ banana (30 g.)

Dinner- Grilled chicken w/ cup of brown rice; steamed veggies (45 g.)

2nd Dinner- 1 and a half cups of cereal (45 g.)

This brings me at about 250-270 grams of carbs depending on what I choose out of these options. I only counted carbs for grains/fruits/soup. I did not calculate for meat. As you can see, we might need to eat an extra energy bar at our afternoon snack! Or serve up a larger platter of fruit. I love fruit 🙂 Some people snack more; I really don’t. The only time I snack is on long run day when I’ve done my run that morning. I am starved all day and snack on a lot of fruit and definitely grab that extra energy bar. Because as you can see, the example given above is for a light to moderate running day. My runs that go than an hour, you better believe the day will look slightly different! At least a bigger breakfast or lunch.

So the above is what a typical day may may look like for me, however, as of lately, I upped my may protein intake. So I had been eating, due to all my pancake posts, more protein pancakes and more protein shakes! You have to tread carefully with upsetting the balance. Seriously use the ratios given above with grams/pound, and stick to only around those numbers. If you’re looking to build more muscle…focus on strength then for a week or two and ease back into your regular diet routine. Runners do not adjust well when they are eating MORE protein than carbs. If you truly are running long distances of at least 20 miles per week, then you must be consuming more carbs than protein. Or if your volume of cardio is greater than weights, then yes you need more carbs! Not only will we not have enough energy to run for long distances, the extra protein could block up your system. This is a very high possibility if you’re trying a high-protein diet while trying to run. not only that, but too much protein is horrible for your kidney’s health. And you don’t want that. You could even have the Gatorade after a hard run, and you can still have your protein shake/bar after your strength training. That is certainly advised 🙂

I wish you the best of luck in your nutrition and training 🙂 Ask me any more questions you have on this, and have a great FRIDAY!

Reference

R.D. Coleman, Erin.”How much Protein and Carbs Do Runners Need?” Healthy Eating. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/

To A Great Day: Don’t Get Burned Out

5 miler

A completely, unashamed selfie taken after my first 5 miler today since the stress fracture!! I have been doing a ton of 3 milers and 4 milers (1’s and 2’s at the very start of course). And have been consistently running 5 days a week since the first week of December. So I haven’t been consistent for very long, but here I am! Very excited, and very happy.

With completing this feat, I have been thinking of the new year ahead. Last year, I entered 2014 still being injured and the injury lasted until mid March. The recent stress fracture was from September through mid November. Though when I wasn’t injured, I had an incredible straight 5 months of races and pure, good running!

My goal is to keep this year injury-free. With that, I am actually not concerned with the whole #15in2015 thing. If I do 15 races, great! If not, whatever! Did I stay injury-free and have a great, full year of running and races? If that answer is yes, I’ll have had one of the best years of my running career.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet for you and compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind in your running, workouts, sports, etc. This list is for everyone, from beginners to the most elite athletes.

Runner Girl’s List of How to Avoid Injury/Burnout

  1. Do not overlook anything. Whether you’re an athlete in school, or an athlete post-school, you cannot overlook the smallest ticks. Especially if it seems irregular. If something seems out of the blue, or worse, you’ve experienced these symptoms previously which led to injury, then you HAVE to tend to it! Do not ignore strange pains/atypical symptoms.
  2. Tell your coach/trainer at first signs of pain. Do not wait for it to worsen because I assure you that it will. When you explain the situation immediately, then the healing process is A LOT faster. Catch it early, fix it fast, get back to running sooner.
  3. Do your exercises!!! The trainer is going to give you a lot of exercises to help; do not do only two things on the list and be done! Complete each exercise fully and completely. Basically, just listen to your trainer. Do your work. It’s good for you.
  4. Research. If you do not have a coach or trainer and do things on your own, then you have to be responsible for researching exercises. If you are a veteran athlete, chances are, you learned a lot from your school sport/track/cross country. Regardless, go to Runner’s World. That’s a great place to start, and just research the heck out of your early stages of injury.
  5. Don’t overtrain and do progress slowly. Research states to increase your mileage by steady 10% increments each week when building your weekly mileage. Don’t jump from 15 miles per week to 30 the next. The body isn’t ready to make that jump.
  6. Mix it up. Want to keep running but don’t want to ONLY run? Or do you just want to stay active and have no idea how to not get bored? Well there’s Insanity, P90X, yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, outdoor adventure biking, hiking, HIIT, aerobics classes, dancing classes, basketball at local gyms (YMCA offers a very wide range of activities)….there’s so much out there. Keep testing out new things and bring friends!
  7. Do local races/themed races. Chances are, you’ve heard of glow runs, color runs, Tough Mudder. These can be a lot of fun to do and are exciting to anticipate!! Again, if you need friends, call them up! Do it as a group! I promise, it’ll be one of the most fun and rewarding things you’ll do. If you’re a solo runner like me, keep looking for local races and again, test your abilities. Step up and do 10Ks, half marathons, though don’t over-commit yourself.
  8. Since that last thought is important, Don’t over-commit yourself. Be practical with your schedule, and ask yourself “Will I be tired every day if I try to train for a marathon right now? Work has been crazy, the kids still need a lot of my time…maybe I can just do a 5k or two right now.” There are tons of other ways to stay active than setting aside hours to run and train for a marathon.
  9. Eat right!!!! Ahhh. Can’t stress this enough. You will hurt yourself or get burned out if you’re eating crap and trying to run. Please visit this site for superfoods that are amazing for runners! http://www.runnersworld.com/photos/41-superfoods-how-they-can-help-your-running   Try incorporating some into your everyday diet. Nutrition is a huge topic, so I’ll have to talk more in separate posts or this bullet point would get obnoxious.
  10. Good ole dynamic stretches. Alright, and lastly, before EACH run, do some dynamics!! Don’t just go out cold! Do some calf raises, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, walking quad stretch; there’s a ton of them. Look into it if you aren’t too familiar 🙂

I hope this list helps you in your training! There’s a lot to running. That’s why there’s a million magazines and books and coaches dedicated to talking about it and helping everyone else 🙂 And there’s me too, who will hopefully have a book and be a coach someday 🙂

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Saturday! xoxo