8 foods that can help you run faster
Research has shown that certain kinds of food can dramatically improve speed and performance. An excellent nutrition plan with the right foods can actually make you run faster and feel better before and after your training. The team at Run Theory have put together a quick guide on 8 foods that can help you run faster and help prevent injury when training for your next big event, like the Australian Running Festival in April. Oh yeah, dish it up!
Carbs are a running diet staple and provide the body with most of its energy.
Research has shown that eating beetroot can boost energy and increase time to exhaustion. According to a research review in Precision Nutrition, the high nitrate content means the body burns less energy during endurance runs, allowing athletes to run for longer. One particular study also found that athletes who consumed beetroot juice before a race finished 3% faster than those who didn’t!
- Whole grain pasta
Whole grain pasta contains more complex carbohydrates than regular white pasta which means it’s digested at a slower rate than simple carbohydrates, giving the body energy for a longer and slowing fatigue. Whole grain pasta also provides a variety of nutrients and much needed dietary fibre while also helping to rebuild muscle and improve endurance. However, it is not recommended to eat whole-grain pasta directly before an event as this could cause indigestion and unplanned bathroom stops!
Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates and are an ideal pre-race/run snack. According to a US University study in 2012, consuming a banana is as beneficial as consuming sports drink before a race.
Protein is an important part of any runner’s diet as it helps to rebuild damaged tissues and stabilise blood sugar levels. Research suggests that runners requires around 50-70% more protein than non-runners in order to repair the body and provide much needed energy.
- Grass-fed beef
Beef is naturally high in protein; however certain kinds of beef are healthier than others. Most cattle are grain fed, which can be quite unhealthy due to the meat containing a higher amount of saturated fat and possible exposure to hormones. Cattle that are fed with their natural diet of grass will produce a healthier meat, higher in omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid, which literally helps the body to run faster.
Chicken is loaded with protein however you cook it. One serve of chicken breast is able to provide a runner with about half of a runner’s daily protein needs. Chicken helps the body repair damaged muscle tissue, making chicken an excellent recovery food.
Despite much misunderstanding, good fat is also beneficial to a runner’s diet as it assists the body in absorbing vitamins, as well as providing another energy source.
Salmon is jam packed with omega-3, an essential fatty acid that assists in increasing muscular strength, regulating blood flow and reducing inflammation.. Salmon is also full of vitamins that can improve muscle function and oxygen intake, helping a runner to hit their top speed. According to Kim Larson from the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics, the high amounts of vitamin D also found in salmon helps to support the immune system and keep bones and muscles strong. Each of these benefits helps build endurance in runners and prevent all kinds of injuries.
- Peanut Butter
Pure peanut butter, free of sugar, salt and oil additives, is full of vitamin E and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids help to lower cholesterol, as well as strengthen the immune system. Eating peanut butter makes the body feel full longer, which can give you more energy at a slower and sustained pace. Peanut butter also provides the body with protein to help repair muscle tissue. Great news for the peanut butter lovers out there,
Avocado, also known as nature’s butter, is another food that is rich in healthy fats. Consuming avocado aids recovery, helps to fight cardiovascular disease and assists the body in absorbing nutrients. Many studies have shown that avocado lowers bad cholesterol and can help unclog the arteries. This improves blood flow throughout the body and stabilises blood-sugar levels. The high amounts of potassium and vitamin B6, B5, C and E found in avocados also have many anti-inflammatory and infection fighting properties. As a runner, this is incredibly important as endurance running often causes a lowered immune system as well as muscle tears. Get ready from some avo-cardio!
In combination, the right kinds of carbohydrates, proteins and fats can improve your performance and keep the body healthy and happy. Bring together your nutrition plan with Run Theory’s intelligent running and recovery coach and you’ll be ready to run your first or fastest race in no time.