So, you’ve decided to tackle your first 5K, 10K, marathon — or maybe you just want to run more regularly. You’ll want to make sure you’re fueling up properly so you can look and feel like a pro come race day. Plus, no one wants a dreaded tomato face in pictures. Because, let’s be honest, if you didn’t post about your race on Instagram, did you even run a race?
Seriously though, keeping your energy up on long-distance runs can make or break your training regimen. While reaching for a cup of coffee or energy gels may seem like the best option, there are other ways to boost your energy during long runs, so you cross the finish line without feeling exhausted.
Fuel Up with Whole Foods
One of the easiest ways to finish your run on a strong note is by fueling your body with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats prior to your run. Complex carbs provide your body with a sustained energy release, while protein can help slow the rate of carbohydrate release. Healthy fats provide an additional energy store for your body. This combination provides energy sources released slowly to give your body energy throughout your long runs.
So, what are some good pre-run meal options? If you fancy yourself a smoothie gal, consider this Peanut Butter Protein Shake. Bananas with peanut butter, dates with almond butter, or oatmeal with nut butter and honey are other nutrient-rich options to consider. During your run, you may start to feel hungry or fatigued, especially once you pass the 6- to 9-mile mark. Carry smart snacking options like a LARABAR, Clif Bar, dates or energy chews to keep you going. Make sure to test out which item works best for you on a training run before the big race.
Don’t Ignore Electrolytes
Although electrolytes will not give you increased energy, having balanced electrolytes in your body prevents muscle cramping, fatigue and decreased performance during runs. Electrolytes are composed of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and chloride. When there are deficiencies or imbalances, muscle spasms, digestion issues and dizziness may occur.
Most of us have gotten electrolytes through sports drinks that contain a high sugar content. One way to get electrolytes naturally is through your diet. Bananas, raisins, pickle juice and coconut water are all great whole food sources. You can also add an electrolyte tablet or electrolyte concentrate to water before and during your runs.
Remember to Get Proper R&R
The quality of your recovery is one of the most important aspects of staying energized during runs. If you don’t properly recover, your body will be fatigued before you even begin your next run. Make sure you are stretching your muscles, getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and are refueling with a protein supplement like Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. With 20g of collagen per serving, our Collagen Peptides not only helps to support muscle recovery but also helps to promote stronger hair, skin, nails, joints and gut.