Expert Nutrition Tips for Runners

Running, jogging, or even walking 5km is no easy feat. This is why we enlisted the help of dietitian Orla Walsh to give us some nutritional tips in preparation for the Very Pink Run!

Protein is important for runners: How much protein does a runner need?

Although we don’t use protein to fuel our run, we do need it to feed our muscles and bones to keep them strong. Most people need about 20 grams at each meal. Generally people don’t eat enough at breakfast time, and lunch can be hit or miss.

5g of Protein:

50g of quark or Greek yoghurt

125g pot of yoghurt

125g pot of soya yoghurt

1 medium egg

30g of soft cheese

20g of cheddar cheese

1 large tbsp of nut butter

10g of Protein:

300ml of milk or soya milk

30g of wholegrain cereal

200g of baked beans

½ drained tin of peas, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas (150g)

75g of quorn mince

2 turkey rashers

20g of Protein:

1 pint of milk or soya milk

300g pot of cottage cheese

⅓ block of tofu

1 medium fillet of fish

1 chicken breast

1 ball of mozzarella

2 slices of meat

We hope these suggestions help you plan your meals as you prepare for the Very Pink Run. Aside from this, Orla has also answered common questions about one’s nutrition during running…

What foods help you run better?

Professional runners need to abide by a strict diet. However, if you’re preparing for a 5k run, jog, or walk, it is not enough that you prepare your body by doing strength training (link to article). You must also have good nutrition to fuel your body.

So, what does a runner eat on a daily basis? The nutrient that fuels the runners is carbohydrate. If you’re planning on joining the Very Pink Run, consider it the petrol that goes into our tank.

As mentioned, you want to avoid high fibre foods if your gut is moving quickly today. What a lovely excuse for a scone or toast for breakfast! On other mornings, when not going for a run, aim for high fibre carbohydrates which offer steady energy and lots more nutrients.

What foods should you avoid before running?

Are there certain foods you need to steer clear of while running? On the morning of the run, nerves can get the better of us and upset our tummies. We don’t want too much fibre in the hours leading up to the start line. So, hold off on the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in the morning before the race. These foods form the base of a healthy diet, so include them in abundance the rest of the time!

What should you drink before or during a run?

It goes without saying that you should keep hydrated! I know… you’ve probably been told this before. But did you know that even 2% dehydration will impact how hard you find today’s run/ walk? What’s more you only feel thirsty if you’ve already lost 1 to 2% of water from your body! So, to enjoy today to the max, drink to avoid thirst. Don’t worry, drinks like tea, coffee, juice and milk count!

Is it best to run on an empty stomach?

No, it’s not recommended that you run on an empty stomach. Doing any physically tasking activity on an empty stomach is not a good idea as the body needs nutrition and fuel to burn while running. You may experience lightheadedness or being faint, especially if it’s a long run or jog.

What should you drink after a run?

Recover well after the race with nature’s sports drink. A pint of milk provides water and electrolytes to rehydrate, protein to repair muscles and carbohydrate to refuel muscles. If you’re doing the 10km option, be sure to also have some fruits or a granola bar with you.

What else can you do to prepare for a 5k run?

To better prepare to run, jog, or walk for 5km, you should also know how to properly stretch and how to exercise and do strength training (include links here once up). These are all essential for the big day!

If you haven’t signed up for the Very Pink Run yet, you can do so here! Register Here.

#VeryPinkRun #VPR2023