Optimizing Running Performance and Recovery with Nutrition

September 15th, 2021

 

Written By Dante Leone

Optimizing Running Performance and Recovery with Nutrition

You may know that to enhance running you need to complete a running training program that progresses over time. This will likely include strength and stability exercises, mobility training, and of course, running. But what can get overlooked is what you put into your body each day to fuel yourself to optimize your performance. 

The things we consume each day have a direct and immediate impact on a variety of body systems. This includes the ability to manage oxidative stress, inflammation, and muscle soreness. Sure, there are both over-the-counter and prescription medications to manage these symptoms, but what about a more natural way? In fact, there are numerous foods that can reduce these symptoms even better than these medications. Notice the word “food,” because the focus is on whole foods, not processed junk or supplements. We need the whole food and its amazing symphony of compounds to provide the greatest impact.

When you think about enhancing performance and recovering from exercise think lots of fruits and vegetables. Cherries, watermelon, and ginger have been shown to reduce muscle soreness. Beets can help improve blood flow to muscles. Citrus can reduce muscle fatigue. And spinach can help manage oxidative stress. 

So as you prepare for the Wicked 10k, or any other race, event, athletic performance, or exercise make sure you are fueling your body optimally before and after. Focus on whole foods to ensure you get all the beneficial compounds, including fiber. An easy way to include multiple foods is in a smoothie. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Tips for making a healthy smoothie:

  1. Use whole fruits or vegetables, not juice. 
  2. Sneak in some greens, such as spinach or kale
  3. Drink it slowly. You can drink foods much faster than you can chew them. Your body can also metabolize foods in liquid form faster. If you guzzle down a smoothie it can increase blood sugar levels quicker than your body can manage. It can also lead to over-consumption as your body takes time to register fullness. 

Pre-race performance enhancement smoothie

  • 1/2 cup Watermelon 
  • 1/2 cup Beets (boiled or roasted and allowed to cool)
  • 1/2 cup Berries (Such as cherries blueberries, strawberries, fresh or frozen)
  • Handful of Spinach
  • 1 tbsp nut butter, ground flax, and/or oats (for some additional protein and healthy fat)
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (preferably unsweetened, can add more or less depending on your thickness preference)

Post-exercise recovery smoothie: Reduced muscle soreness

  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 cup Berries (Such as cherries blueberries, strawberries, fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup Grapes
  • Handful of Spinach or Kale
  • 1-2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tbsp nut butter, ground flax, and/or oats (for some additional protein and healthy fat)
  • 1 cup plant-based milk (preferably unsweetened, can add more or less depending on your thickness preference)

More resources can be found at NutritionFacts.org.

Happy training and happy fueling! 

julie

Meet Dante: DPT + OCS + CSCS 

Market Square Clinical Director 

Dante believes in empowering people to have the knowledge and tools they need to control their health and wellness. As a healthcare professional, he takes pride in guiding his patients to improve their well-being and be able to enjoy all of life’s activities.

Dante loves being able to work one-on-one with all types of people to build strong lasting relationships around the common goal of optimizing health. He understands the complex biological, psychological, and social impacts to our health, and addresses these various factors with a holistic treatment approach.