6 Nutrition Essentials for Runners
Mother runners have been keeping secrets. Hiding things behind closed doors and kitchen cabinets. And, here I’m revealing all:
The best nutrition for runners.
First, let me reveal this about myself. I’ve been a bit of a minimalist, simpleton, what have you, when it comes to nutrition for runners. I never used gels or GUs on my long runs. I hardly ever refueled after a workout. And, hydration got as fancy as a water fountain on the path of a run.
But I have converted, my friends. I have seen the light and the difference nutrition science has made in the sport of endurance running. Proper nutrition for runners can help you go the distance and recover faster so you can do it all over again. Prior to using the best nutrition products available today, I’d be really drained after a workout and accepted that most people would be after doing 22 miles or an intense track workout. And I accepted as the norm that I would feel tired the next day and dreading a run.
But, that’s not actually the case. This isn’t the norm.
Fueling properly before, during, and after a run can give you the stamina you need to squeeze out the best of every training—and empower you to keep up your badassness when you’re done in your mom, professional, wife, friend, etc. duties.
I’ve learned a lot from experts and other Mother Runners. In fact, I’m still learning. With the summer heat, I was getting goosebumps on every run. One of my Mother Runner friends suggested some hydration drinks to help replenish my electrolytes. Difference made.
Here are the best kept nutrition secrets from Mother Runners to help you nail every workout.
Maurten GEL 100
These gels use breakthrough nutrition science technology to deliver lots of carbs fast without messing up your stomach. They only have six ingredients and go down so much easier than sticky, sweet, thick GUs. The gel rocks a biopolymer matrix, with a unique blend of fructose and glucose which enables uptakes of up to a hundred grams of carbohydrates per hour. These carbs are what your body needs to keep on going—pushing back that proverbial wall. Because the gels are just a bit thicker than water, they’re way easier to take than GUs or chews, key to keeping your momentum going on a fast run. Maurten GEL 100 is used by the world’s top marathoners so it’s good enough for us Mother Runners.
Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid that our body produces on its own and is not necessary to take unless under trauma—aka a hard workout. Tough training depletes the glutamine supply from our plasma making us prone to illness or injury. Using a glutamine supplement right after a workout and coupled with rest is the best way to ward off being sidelined. This white, tasteless powder mixes well into my post-race smoothie and has made a huge difference in my ability to bounce back and feel fresh the next day. Warning, don’t take more than the allotted amount as it can cause tummy trouble.
Speaking of amino acids, Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy supplies your body with essential amino acids to help improve your energy and repair muscle. Mother Runners have subbed it for coffee as it supplies water, caffeine, and amino acids to aid in blood flow, muscle protection, strength, and protein synthesis. It comes in many flavors but the consensus is that grape is the best. I’m not one to give up my coffee but the benefits can be seen pre- or post-workout, so feel free to mix it up.
We live in Tennessee where it gets hot, hot, hot, and humid in the summertime. To stay hydrated, Mother Runners run with Liquid I.V. which boasts hydration two to three times more than water. How? It uses “Cellular Transport Technology” with a specific ratio of potassium, sodium, and glucose that delivers water and other key nutrients directly to your bloodstream. These mamas will drink it before a run to prep for water loss and after to replenish their supply. It’s also great for those of us who are often too busy to drink water all day. And it gives you a better shot at slaying that workout—losing more than 5 percent of body weight from dehydration can decrease your ability to work outby close to 30 percent. There is a caveat—that much hydration does mean you could be peeing a lot—so if you’re drinking it before or during a run, plan to have places for a pit stop (or stops) along the way. (P.S. for those Costco-goers, you can find Liquid I.V. there).
Nuun Hydration Tablets
These fizzy tablets have been a staple for many Mother Runners for years before, during, or after a run. Nuun helps replace electrolytes and vitamins (sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium) you lose through sweat. They come in a variety of fruity flavors with about ten calories and little sugar or carbs. (Cherry limeade and strawberry lemonade to be a fan favorite). The tablets are meant to be dissolved in 15 ounces of water, but you can adjust the amount depending on your taste. And, it tastes much like a carbonated, yet watered-down, sports drink. I’ve been drinking Nuun prior to my summer runs and my goosebumps haven’t been visiting me as much anymore and my pace has quickened. The effervescence bothers some mamas’ tummies. So instead, they drink Hammer’s HEED Sports Drink which replenishes electrolytes with all-natural (no added sugar) ingredients.
They call it the fountain of youth—Mother Runners are raving about Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, and Telos Collagen Booster and Collagen Lattes, crediting the additive and drink with improving the health of joints, hair, and skin over the course of four months of consistent usage. In fact, Mother
Runner of two Margaux says her knees no longer crack and feel creaky since using it. Coming in flavors like vanilla and turmeric, they add it to their morning or afternoon coffee. Telos says the booster can be added to any beverage like smoothies, hot cereal, or soup and is also great for baking. And the benefits they boast are many—sustained energy, reduced brain fog, enhanced focus, improved health of joints and tendons, GI tract, and brain to name a few. How? Collagen is a high-quality protein source that fuels you and serves as a building block for your muscles and bones. It contains 19 amino acids and is different from other protein sources because it has high concentrations of hydroxyproline, proline, and glycine, which are deficient in most of our diets. These are the primary amino acids responsible for collagen production in our bodies resulting in more elastic, less painful joints. According to Telos, collagen is also an easily digestible protein, which reduces inflammation in the gut and helps with blood sugar stabilization.
Alright, the nutrition for runners secrets are out. Hopefully they help you up your badassness. Feel free to tell us your secrets in the comments below.