Ten Nutrition Hacks for Beginner Runners

May 06, 2019

When I started running, I had no idea what to eat. So, I just ate it all. With these 10 tips, you can begin to shift your metabolic state and your training results.

1. Start your Nutritional Training now.

Just like you are training your muscles, you are training your brain and body to eat for health. The sooner you start, the sooner your body will thank you.

2. Nutrient-dense foods are key.

Choose nutrient-dense foods over those that are energy dense.

Swap out white sugars for Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave, or Stevia.

3. High quality carbs.

Choose higher quality carbohydrates. Remember, that fruits and veggies count as carbs too.

Swap out white breads, cereals and pastas for higher quality grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, peas, carrots, corn, pumpkin, butternut squash, fresh and dried fruit.

  • 15-20 grams of carbohydrate (+protein) = 1⁄2 cup dried beans, lentils, garbanzo beans
  • 15 grams of carbohydrate = a slice of spelt bread, 1/2 cup brown rice, a piece of fruit or 3/4 cup 100% fruit juice
  • 12 grams of dairy carbohydrate = 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1.5 oz cheese
  • 5 grams of vegetable carbohydrate = 1 cup of leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup chopped veggies, 3/4 cup vegetable juice
4. Prioritize fruits and veggies.

Fruit and vegetables should be high up on your priority list. You should aim to consume at least three fruit and three vegetables per day.

5. Remember protein.

Don’t neglect the protein in your diet – protein is very important for maintaining and building lean muscle mass. Try having some form of protein at every meal. You need just under your body weight in kg’s in grams of protein. For example, a person that weighs 56kg’s would need just under 56 grams of protein. Here is a quick cheat chart to give you an idea of how much you are consuming. Apps like myfitnesspal.com will help you track your macros.

  • 21 grams of protein = 3 ounce serving of lean meat (1 medium pork chop), 1/2 a chicken breast or a small halibut, salmon, cod fillet
  • 7 grams of protein = 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 1 ounce of cheese, 1 egg/2 egg whites, 4 ounces of tofu,2 tablespoons of nut butter
  • 8 grams of protein = one cup of milk or yogurt
  • 3 grams of protein = one serving of whole grain products (a slice of bread)
6. Re-Think fat.

Fats are required for proper brain and hormone support. You can also train your body to burn fats vs the more common carbo load. Ask if Keto or Keto Cycling is the choice for you. Make sure your diet includes these healthy choices: olive oil, olives, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut shavings, avocado, nuts, seeds and organic feta.

7. Time it Right.

Pre Exercise. Eat every four hours. Skipping meals depletes your body of protein, not fat. Aim to get your work out in 30 minutes after a light snack or two hours after a meal.

8. Time it Right.

Post Exercise. Eat 20-60 minutes post work out.

9. Avoid unnecessary ingredients.

Sports drinks, gels and energy bars are commonly used by runners. In the early stages of training, these are not necessary. Many of them contain extra sugar, carbs as well as ingredients that can upset your tummy. Once your endurance improves, we can chat about health options.

10. Pay attention to your fluid needs.

Dehydration can decrease your performance and lead to headaches which may discourage your progress. Set yourself up for success. Take a glass or metal bottle of water with you to work and training. Just like your protein, aim for your body weight in kg’s.

Dr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence-based practice with a focus on sports and performance-based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation. In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!



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