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Timothy Gilbert
Timothy Gilbert

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Nutrition for Runners
Katie Samsel, DC, RD
Graduated from National University
of Health Sciences in December of
2005 as a Doctor of Chiropractic
Graduated from the University of
Pittsburgh in 2002 with a Bachelor of
Science in Clinical Nutrition
Have run with Glen Ellyn Runners
since June 2004, completing my first
marathon in October 2004
What to eat
What to eat during Training
In general, a balanced
diet a recommended
Add 100kcal for every
mile on top of regular
diet (2000-2500kcal)
Carbohydrate: no less
than 50% of total
Calories, up to 70%
Protein: 15-20%
(caloric needs calculator)
How to use a nutrition label
Carbohydrate provides 4kcal per
Protein provides 4kcal per gram
Fat provides 9kcal per gram
Ex: you are on a 2000kcal diet with
60% CHO, 20% Pro, 20% Fat
– 2000kcal x .60=1200kcal from CHO
– 1200kcal x 1g/4kcal=300g of CHO
Nutrition Label
of fatmultiply
this by 9
for kcal
Grams of
CHO- to get
kcal multiply
this number
by 4 OR
subtract this
from the
number you
What types of Carbs?
At least 50% of your carbohydrates
should be complex carbohydrates,
especially if eating before a run
Eating simple carbohydrates before a
run breakdown faster, raise your
blood sugar faster, and create a
greater insulin spike ultimately
hindering your ability to utilize that
glucose for energy
Simple vs. Complex Carbs
White bread
Cakes, Cookies, Pies
Soda pop
White rice
White flour
Jams, jellies,
Whole wheat bread
Whole grain or protein
enriched pasta
Brown rice
Bean and Legumes
Whole fruit
Low sugar, high fiber,
protein enriched
Glycemic Index
A ranking of the effect on blood
glucose of the consumption of a
single food relative to a reference
carbohydrate (ie white bread)
– The higher the glycemic index the faster
the carbohydrate is broken down in the
body and the greater the insulin
Glycemic Index (GI)
Some factors that influence the GI include:
 Presence of fiber in food (esp. soluble
 Form of the food eaten (rice cakes vs.
cooked rice)
 Presence of fat
 Form of sugar present (fructose vs.
sucrose or glucose)
 Combining CHO with protein or fat
Glycemic Index Chart
Used to build & repair body tissues (muscles,
tendons and ligaments)
15-20% of Calories to be from protein
1.0-1.2g/kg of body weight
150 pound person eating diet w/15% PRO
150lb x 1kg/2.2lb = 68kg
68kg x 1.2g/kg = 82g of protein
4kcal/g x 82g = 330 kcal from protein
330kcal/.15 = x/1 x= 2200kcal-total number of calories
per day
– If you wanted to just use 15% of total caloric intake
then multiply 2200kcal by .15 to get 330kcal and divide
by 4kcal/g to get 82g of protein per day
Sources of protein
Lean beef, chicken,
fish, turkey
Eggs, milk, low fat
Beans & rice, tofu,
Broiled, grilled or
baked to keep it lower
in fat
Avoid breaded, fried,
heavily dressed with
dressings or gravy
20-30% fat in your diet, only 10% from
saturated fats
Consume primarily monounsaturated fats,
like olive oil
REMEMBER-fats are the energy source
that your body uses after it exhausts your
glycogen stores!!!
FOR RUNNERS (less than 15%)
TRANS Fatty acid- found in
margarine, french fries and
butter cookies. Raise your
cholesterol level and risk of
heart disease. Try to
Saturated Fats-found in
dairy foods, coconut and
fatty meats. Limit to 10%
Omega 6-found in
vegetable oil, nuts and
seeds. Can reduce LDL
cholesterol, but too much
can reduce HDLs. Limit to
Omega 3-found in cold
water fish, soy oil and
nuts. Can reduce
triglycerides and
•Monounsaturated FatFound in olive oil, avocado,
and peanut. This reduces
LDL and cholesterol. This
should predominate in the
How many grams is 25% Fat?
If your on a
2000kcal diet,
2000 x .25 =
500kcal from fat
500kcal x 1g/9kcal
= 55.5g of fat
So now you know how to
figure out how much to eat…
But what should you eat and
when should you eat it?
What to eat
Preexercise meal comprised of low GI
carbohydrate foods may enhance
performance more than do high GI
carbohydrate foods
This is because blood glucose
concentrations rise at a slower rate, stay
high longer with a smaller insulin
response, allowing your body to utilize the
The addition of fat to CHO also reduces
the glycemic response
What to eat
Insulin is the “anti-exercise” hormone that
inhibits fatty acid mobilization from the fat
cells and stimulates glucose uptake and
storage in the liver
The theory is if exercise starts when blood
insulin levels are high, the rate of removal
of glucose from the blood into the liver for
glycogen storage may be accelerated,
increasing the risk of hypoglycemia
When to eat
During training the most important thing you can
do in order to stay consistent with your runs
(besides doing the appropriate runs) is staying
consistent with your diet
Eat 4-6 small meals per day, about every 4-5
Avoid anything really heavy 60-90 minutes before
your runs
Avoid simple carbohydrates right before your
Data shows that eating 45 minutes to 4 hours
before exercise may enhance performance
Drink, Drink, Drink
Drink a minimum of 8-10 glasses of H2O per daymore after runs, especially in the heat
Drink plenty of electrolytes, but not in place of
Space your drinks out-not too much too fast
Drink up until 2 hours before the race and then
during to stay hydrated
If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
Avoid caffeine and alcohol the night before the
long runs and race
Drink after your runs to replenish what you lost
in sweat and respiration
Hydration, cont.
Race Day: Drink 17-20
fluid ounces of water or
sports drink 2-3 hours
before exercise and
another 7-10 ounces 10-20
minutes before exercise.
Drink 6-8 fluid ounces
every 20 minutes during
the run
Hydration belts and camel
backs are great for
carrying extra fluid on your
person during your long
Pre Race Carbo Loading
Exercise performance during prolonged
exercise of 1hour or more can potentially
be enhanced by:
– increasing the amount of CHO stored before
– reducing the rate at which those stores are
burned during exercise
– ingesting CHO in the appropriate amounts
during exercise
Data suggests that athletes who eat a
low-CHO diet would run about 30-45 min
slower than if they ate a high CHO diet
Pre Race Carbo Loading
A high CHO diet
(70%) eaten for
the last 3 days
before exercise
causes maximum
filling of muscle
(and liver)
glycogen stores
What to eat the night before the
Light, predominately carbohydrate meal
Avoid foods that you have never eaten
Practice different foods on the nights
before long runs to determine what works
best for you
Avoid diuretics like alcohol and caffeine
If you eat dinner early have a light
carbohydrate snack before you go to bed
Morning of race day
Consider waking up a little earlier so that
you can get in a light meal 2-3 hours in
before the race
– Toast or bagel with peanut butter with a small
glass of orange juice often works well before a
– Don’t include too much fat in the meal the
morning of because it may lead to cramping
– Generally speaking you want 400kcal for half
marathon; 800kcal for full marathon
Post Race
Drink as soon as you finish, even after the
initial thirst is quenched
Eat something with carbohydrates within
30 minutes after your run to start
replenishing your glycogen stores
– Make sure to include some protein with your
post run meal to speed up recovery
– You should aim for a 4:1 ratio of CHO:PRO to
promote the greatest stimulus of insulin and
glycogen storage
Post Race, cont.
4:1 CHO to PRO ration has shown:
– Faster Recovery. Protein, when taken with
carbohydrate after exercise, has been shown to greatly
accelerate the rebuilding and refueling of muscles.
– Fewer injuries. In a study involving researchers from
Vanderbilt University and the University of Iowa, Marine
recruits suffered 37% fewer injuries during boot camp
when they consumed protein after physical training.
– A better workout tomorrow. Research has shown
that athletes perform better in the next day's workout
when they consume protein with carbohydrate after
today's workout.
Omega-3 oils
– Help reduce
– In addition, make sure
you are getting plenty
of calcium and iron
(esp. women)
– Sports drinks for
maintaining fluid
balance, blood volume
and nerve transmission
– Emergen-C High dose
vitamin C and B
vitamins to help replace
trace minerals
Supplements, cont.
Gel Packs/energy bars
– Important source of
energy during you longer
runs. Make sure you
practice this before the
day of the race if you plan
to use them the day of the
– Recommended for longer
runs (10+ miles), taken
every 30-45 min
Endurox R4
– 4:1 CHO:PRO post
exercise replenisher
PowerBar Performance
Salt licks-more common
with ultra marathoners
Thank you for listening!
Noakes, Tim MD Lore of Running. 4th edition p. 108-119,
Solkin, Mindy Nutrition:Fill your body with super octane fuel
for best performance.
Distance Runners Nutrition Plan.
The Distance Runner’s Diet.
Mahan, L. Kathleen Krause’s Food, Nutrition, & Diet
Therapy. 10th edition 2000

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