Head to any popular running path and you'll likely see packs of serious-looking striders weighed down by belts stuffed with sports bars and carb gels. Resist the urge to join them, says, dietitian, Susan Bowerman, assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Her advice:
If you know you'll run for 60 minutes, fuel up with a 100-to 200-calorie high-carb snack (think toast or a banana).
Four hours before your workout, drink 350ml of fluid. If your urine is the shade of apple juice or darker two hours before you exercise, drink another 235ml to 350ml. If you'll be working out longer than 60 minutes, replenish with a 500ml sports drink every hour, or 120ml every 15 minutes—but increase that amount if you're going at a high intensity.
If your energy tends to be low on long runs, a small taste of glucose can jolt your brain into performance mode, research shows. Eat or drink 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour. A couple of pitted dates can keep your portions under control.
Consider giving yourself two hours after a full meal before heading out for a long or hard run. It takes about that long for blood to reroute to your working muscles from your digestive system.
Your daily diet can have a big impact on your run. Focus on fruits and veggies, whole grains, healthy fats from nuts and avocado, and lean protein. Fruit and veggies are also high in antioxidants, which aid recovery.
Within an hour after your run, grab a snack with a four-to-one ratio of carbs to protein (try 200ml of chocolate milk). This balance jump-starts the repair process.
This article was originally published by Women's Health.