5 Common Nutritional Myths Runners Come Across

When you start running regularly, you’ll likely come across an abundance of nutritional tips, from the healthy prepared meals you should be consuming, to how much you should eat. However, not all of them will necessarily offer the advice you need to get you feeling your best.

There’s a few fair myths out there when it comes to getting your nutrition right as a runner, and we wanted to go through some of the more common ones for you…

You need a super clean diet

Having a clean diet of whole foods; fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats is recommended for anyone who is looking to get into shape. Limiting those highly processed junk foods and focusing on healthy prepared meals of nutrient dense foods will help you recover faster and feel fantastic.

However, always eating super clean as a runner can sometimes hinder your performance. If you start cutting out too many crucial carbohydrates, you want be fulfilling your body’s most immediate energy needs, when it needs it the most. Glucose from carbs is converted into the energy your muscles need to function properly. So good carb intake, even if they aren’t necessarily the ‘cleanest’ carbs, can still be beneficial for fueling your body.

Running faster will mean more weight loss

Many runners may think that the harder and faster you run the more fat you’ll lose. This may be true, as long as you put the right nutritional fuel into your body before hand, and you’re not putting your body through too much stress.

However, faster runs might not always be the answer if your goal is to induce weight loss. If you’re already feeling stressed and you start to do faster runs, this will cause your body to hold onto fat, so that it has some backup fuel. Instead, try taking in another 50 to 100 calories before doing a run, as this will keep your body fuelled properly and help it to relax, which will induce further weight loss.

You need to carb load before a big run

Going back to carbs, it’s a common misconception that you need to heavily cram on carbs before doing a big run. After all, carbohydrates are one of the key components your body needs to achieve its best performance. Focusing on healthy prepared meals that include pasta, rice, potatoes, or other high-carb foods will provide a great source of energy to tackle a run that covers a larger distance.

However, it’s all too easy for runners to overdo things when it comes to carb loading, and often you don’t need as much as you think. You can simply replace some of the normal protein and fat in your diet with extra carbohydrates in the 2 or 3 days leading up to the run. Pay close attention to both the quality and quantity of carbs that you’re consuming, and keep your meals simple. This way you can avoid over-stuffing yourself, which will leave you feeling bloated and lethargic before your run.

A high protein diet will work best

A diet high in protein can help your body induce weight loss, it can also increase muscle mass, for that lean, toned look. Protein is an essential nutrient, which helps with repairing and maintaining your muscles, bones, skin and hair. It’s not hard to see why you’d want to indulge in a high protein diet as a runner looking to improve your overall health.

However, consuming too much animal protein over a long period can lead to it being stored as fat, while the surplus of amino acids is excreted. Over time, this can of course work against your weight loss goals. Taking in protein in moderation is advised, even if you’re getting in a lot of runs.  

Water is all you need for hydration

H20 is of course absolutely essential when it comes to keeping yourself hydrated. Water has many benefits, from helping you to concentrate better and stay alert, to acting as a natural appetite suppressant and improving your metabolism. It also acts as a natural lubricant for your muscles and joints, making healthy hydration essential for greater flexibility.

However, depending on the distance you cover in your runs, how much you sweat and the temperature at which you are moving your body, you’ll likely need more than just water to keep yourself fully hydrated. Taking in electrolytes from food is actually recommended, especially when you’re doing a lot of shorter runs that last an hour or so. You could even try electrolyte tablets to give yourself an energy boost either pre-run or post-run.

Healthy prepared meals are the best way to get the nutritional energy you need to achieve your fitness goals as a runner. At Prep Perfect, we’ve got all the deliciously healthy dishes you could ask for, and we deliver them straight to your door to fit with your schedule. Check out our menu today.

Or contact us to find out more.