Never run on an empty stomach
Many novice runners skip breakfast and eat a salad for lunch in an attempt to lose weight. This is a mistake – your body needs fuel to run. If you don’t take in steady calories during the day (known as ‘grazing’), you’ll be sluggish and your legs won’t want to move – and you’ll hate running. Also, make sure you eat 200-300 calories about an hour before your run, so you’ll have fuel in the tank.
But don’t ‘eat & run’
Some new runners take the opposite approach by eating too much before their work-outs; this is particularly true with sugar. If you feel as if you’re running with a brick in your stomach, and you often end up with a stitch, reassess your pre-run nutrition plan. A banana or a bagel is a great snack before a training session; a doughnut is not.
Avoid ‘little rest’ stops
Many beginners (and even some experienced runners) worry that drinking fluids before a run will mean they’ll need to stop for a ‘tinkle’. Not necessarily. Drink steadily beforehand and your body will balance itself out. If you fill up on fluids an hour and a half before you train, you’ll have time to get rid of the excess before you start running.
Drink and fuel up on the run
Keeping adequately hydrated is critical to your running (not to mention your health). This means drinking the equivalent of eight glasses of water every day, and probably twice that in warm weather. It also means taking in about half a pint of fluid every 15-20 minutes of running. For runs of an hour or more, you also need to replenish spent energy stores with carbohydrates. Your optimal intake should be 50-100 calories of carbohydrate per 30 minutes of running.
Eat a balanced diet
Don’t be fooled by all the fad diets out there; the healthiest way to eat is also the best fuelling plan for your running. Most of the food you eat should be whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Strive for 6-11 servings of grains (one serving equals a slice of bread, 25g of cereal or a cup of pasta), five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables, and two to three servings of meat and dairy products a day. Keep sugary, fatty foods to a minimum.