Build your speed with the best nutrition choices. Here are 5 foods that will help make you a faster runner.
If you’re heading out mid-morning, fill-up on a carbohydrate-rich oat dish. Many fall into the trap of believing that all carbs are bad, which isn’t true - you just need to choose the right ones and eat them at the best possible time.
The beauty of oats is that they have a low-glycemic index and are packed with fibre, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels and leave you feeling energised/fuller for longer. Topped with chopped banana or blueberries and you’ve got yourself the perfect pre-run meal.
Not your conventional running snack, but rumour has it that beetroot is a run-faster food to watch out for. This humble veg is a nutrient powerhouse, rich in vitamins B/C and beta-carotene. However, it’s the nitrates in beetroot that are said to have the performance enhancing effects - improving blood flow and therefore maximising oxygen delivery through the body and to your muscles.
According to The Telegraph, “scientists have discovered athletes who eat baked beetroot before a race run put in a faster time. Researchers at St Louis University in America found that athletes were able to run 5km faster after eating beetroot.” This supports the theory that this handy purple veg can potentially improve muscle efficiency. Try tucking into some before your next training session.
One of the most important aspects of training is recovery. To run faster, you need well-replenished muscles than can meet the demand of your workouts. Enter, the salmon - an excellent source of protein that’s rich in omega acids. Not only does this fish promote excellent heart health, but it also helps rebuild and repair torn, tired muscles, ready for your next run. Combine with leafy greens for the ultimate nutrient hit.
A major reason for tiredness during training is nutrient deficiencies. Even the slightest imbalance can leave you seriously legarthic and not achieving your best. For this reason, it’s important to consume the vitamins and minerals you need from good food.
Spinach is up there as one of the greatest superfoods around, rich in vitamins A, C, E, K and importantly, iron. To lower your risk of being anaemic, stock up on foods high in iron - it helps make red blood, which in turn, carries oxygen around the body. At only 23 calories per 100 grams, you’ve no excuse - stick it in a smoothie for a healthy start to the day.
Okay this isn’t a food, but studies show that a swig of caffeine pre-race can really help put power behind your run - coffee lovers, rejoice!
Research suggests that moderate amounts of caffeine can help enhance your endurance performance. In his autobiography Twin Ambitions, British distance runner Mo Farah revealed “twenty minutes before a race I’ll normally drink some coffee.” If it works for an Olympian, it works for us.