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NRC: EAT SMART, RUN BETTER

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EAT SMART, RUN BETTER What you eat before, during and after a run could positively
(or negatively) impact your performance.

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Bonking during a run is absolutely no fun. But we’ve all been there. Regardless of whether
your stomach starts to churn at mile 2 (big breakfast?), or you make it to mile 15 and then
become a little lightheaded (forgot to bring along an energy gel?), it hurts all the same. And
both you and your workout suffer the consequences. The good news is that proper nutrition
can help prevent a lot of these scenarios from ever happening in the first place. And our Nike+
Run Club (NRC) experts are here to help.
“Nutrition is crucial for runners. Eating well can help you create the right physiological
conditions for high performance, adapt to high-intensity training, fuel your training and races
and recover from all your workouts.”
—Nike Performance Council member John Berardi, PhD, CSCS, a founder of Precision
Nutrition [link: precisionnutrition.com]
What you choose to consume before, during and after you run depends on several different
factors. For example, how far are you running? How hard are you pushing yourself for that
distance? What do you like to eat? What upsets your stomach?
Unfortunately, there is no magic solution or diet for everyone to follow: What works for one
runner—elite or not—won’t necessarily work for you. The only real way to know what nutrition
plan will be best for you come race day is to test foods, drinks and gels/chews out in training
first. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

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PRE-WORKOUT “For most training sessions, your pre-workout nutrition is easy: You can either
have a normal meal a few hours before you exercise, or you can have a smaller
meal at least 30 minutes before you start your workout,” said Berardi. Do
whichever works best for you personally.
If you opt for the "normal meal," try incorporating 1 or 2 palm-sized portions of
protein, 1 or 2 fist-sized portions of veggies, 1 or 2 handfuls of carbs and 1 or 2
thumb-sized portions of fat.
If you opt for the "smaller meal," try something easily digestible, like one of
Berardi’s smoothies (below).
The biggest thing is to stick with foods that you eat regularly and know won't
upset your stomach.

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DURING YOUR RUN “If you’re running for less than two hours, your main focus should be
on staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water. However, if you’re
going to be out on the road (or trail) longer than that, or if it’s
particularly hot and you’re sweating a lot, you need to replace some
calories and electrolytes along the way,” said Berardi.
For events more than 2 hours long, sipping on a sports drink can be a
huge help, he said. Try making your own with 15g protein (1/2 scoop of
protein powder) mixed with 30-45g carbs (1 scoop of sports drink
powder) and 2 cups of water.Another option is to consume a gel,
chews or another electrolyte-replacement product of your choice
(should contain sodium, potassium, calories and carbs) every 45
minutes to an hour.

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POST WORKOUT “If you don’t eat anything within two hours after your run, it could slow your
recovery and negatively effect your next-day performance,” said Berardi.
His general recommendation is to consume a balanced meal (made up of
real food) within an hour or so of completing your workout. Aim for
something that contains 1 or 2 palm-sized portions of protein, 1 or 2
fist-sized portions of vegetables, 1 or 2 handfuls of carbs and 1 or 2
thumb-sized portions of fats, along with a low-calorie beverage, like water.
If you don’t feel hungry, or have a hard time eating a big meal after a tough
training session—don’t worry, that’s okay. Simply try one of the recovery
smoothie recipes below, instead.

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ALL OF THE TIME “Eating a healthy, balanced diet, which consists of a mix of protein,
veggies, minimally-processed carbs and ‘good’ fats, and contains
foods that you can easily tolerate, is what most runners should
strive for,” said Berardi.
Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day (if you’re in
training, aim for 3 to 4 liters), don’t overdo it on the carbs or
supplements, and listen to your body.
Bottom line: The better you eat, the better you’ll feel. And the better
you feel, the better you’ll run. #NRC