Carbs, a Runner’s Best Friend.
As a runner you may already know the importance of Carbohydrates in running performance. Some of us tend to think a lot about our fueling process (Carbs) during training and racing. Others very little and some not at all. For the large majority of runners we are probably consuming enough Carbs during the day to support our needs. But fine-tuning our Carb intake can make for greater results in our performance.
Personalizing your Carbohydrate intake
My general rule when it comes to my personal Nutrition is 60-20-20. That translates to 60% of total Calories come from Carbs, 20% from Protein and 20% from Fat. Although the percentages don’t change, the amounts do, depending on the day’s activities. For instance on a complete rest day I would try to consume enough Carbs to equal my minimum requirement of 2,100 Cals per day. That will be 2,100 x 60% (or 0.6) = 1,260 Cals from Carbs. On a different day, let’s say after a two-hour Long run I would burn approx. 1,100 Calories. So the day’s minimum total Caloric consumption would be 2,100+1,100=3,200 Cals. For that day the Carb requirement would be 3,200 x 60% (0.6) = 1,920 Cals from Carbs. It is really very simple to calculate. And if you use My Fitness Pal is very easy to keep up with your daily Nutrition. It is a free app by the good folks at Under Armor that tracks your Calories and adjusts the total daily requirements according to your activity. Even if you tracked your Caloric intake for a few days you will get a good idea of your Nutritional habits.
Best times to take Carbs
Carbohydrates = Energy.
Generally you should consume most of your Carbs earlier in the day. Especially if you run/work out in the mornings is important to refuel early.
- Before a hard workout. Your body will respond better to the workout when its fuel reserves are topped.
- During a Long run. Your body will thank you for re-stocking some of its fuel while is working so hard for you.
- Always after your run. Post run, Carbs are important for recovery with a small amount of Protein (more about Protein on another Post) will feed your muscles.
- Remember that Carbohydrates = Energy. When you feel you’re running (no pun intended) low is time to refuel.
Feed your running body!