Running and Energy Food
In a couple of week’s time, I’m taking on, my second half marathon challenge.
I completed my first in September 2015, which meant I could train during the summer months. It turns out that training through winter is a whole new challenge. Short days, cold and rainy weather to persevere through, and the copious amount of food surrounding you over Christmas. BUT, I have developed some delicious recipes full of natural energy and lots of nutritional benefits to help me get out and train in the rain!
First of all, there are two types of energy that help, depending on whether you have it pre- or post- run.
Pre-run foods need to consist of simple carbohydrates that are easy to break down – mainly sugars.
Nowadays we are told that these simple carbohydrates are bad for us, and we should be avoiding them. However, natural sugars are the answer to providing a burst of energy.
Simple carbohydrates are favoured over complex carbs for pre-run because they are easy to digest, so they don’t sit in your stomach and give you that dreaded stitch. Honey, raisins, and maple syrup are all natural sugars that you can include as part of an energy ball recipe.
Find my Peanut Butter Energy Ball recipe below. If you are doing a long distance run (10+ miles), a few complex carbs will keep you going – check out my Superfood Energy Ball recipe on my website to give you the perfect burst of natural energy!
Post-run your body requires complex carbohydrates to refuel and protein to repair muscles. It’s recommended to eat within 30 minutes of returning from your run – the sooner you feed your body, the sooner it can begin to repair.
My top protein foods are natural yogurt and nut butter. They both have high protein content and are so delicious to add to smoothies. Nuts are an excellent source of protein too – just ten nuts contain 2.8g of protein! I have developed a seriously tasty nut bar recipe that is the perfect refuelling post-run snack!
So, pre-fuel and re-fuel have been covered. Now for the actual running bit. When training for an event like the half marathon, you should begin training about three months beforehand (depending on current fitness levels).
I use the Nike+ training app (free!), which provides you with a personalised plan to help you reach your goals and keeps you motivated to train.
About two weeks before the race you should begin to taper out and do shorter runs. Your longest run should be around two weeks before; this helps reduce your chances of injury and pressure on your body.
Finally, It is essential to have the correct running gear – especially trainers. Without the full support from running shoes you can give yourself serious injuries, so make sure you head to your local running store where they can assess your feet and advise you on what is best.
So whatever distance you’re running, whether you’ve just started out or whether you’ve a marathon addiction, make sure you listen to your body and give it as much help as you can with sensible foods. If you need to take a break, then do.
And remember – the most important thing is to enjoy yourself!
Keep running, and love running!
Peanut Butter Energy Balls
*75g peanut butter
*75g almond butter
*75g hazelnuts (can be replaced with any nut)
*1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
*3 tbsp cacao powder
~ Simply put everything into a food processor and mix together until all the ingredients are incorporated.
~ Shape into balls and sprinkle with crushed almonds
~ Keep in the fridge for up to 10 days (can also be frozen)