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Running Nutrition

  • 13-01-2022 5:47pm
    Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭

    This is another common subject that is discussed in Logs but may be worth a thread of its own. Highly subjective as each to his/her own what works for personal nutrition. This is absolutely not intended to be a weight loss thread. More a case of optimal health actually.

    It was perhaps no coincidence that I finally bagged sub3 at my lowest race weight in over 10 years. But alas, I cut out the snacks and sugar generally for the marathon plan, coupled with getting more fat adapted (Intermittent fasting and "empty" runs), only for the weight to creep back to where I started on another cold January morning. Bottom line is it was focus for the event but perhaps not sustainable for optimal health.

    Not just the weight though, the energy throughout the program to complete sessions, sleep and recover for the next day was not insignificant, and was not just down to foam rolling and the odd static stretch! I made sure to get a mix of protein and carbs post sessions. If I had little time I would throw a scoop of banana protein powder, some frozen banana, pip & nut crunchy peanut butter, seeds, nuts and blend with plain yoghurt. Cutting the crap was initially hard but better as better energy developed and craving disappeared. I became quite in tune with nutrition vs training. Again, just for that plan! IN saying that I did have a "pizza and beer" night once a week 😁

    Do you look at nutrition as an integral part of a marathon plan? Not just how you fuel long runs or the race itself but in terms of Lifestyle?

    What about running "empty"? Do you need to have breakfast to fuel sessions, all runs? Have you any nutritional rules you associate with running?

    Finally, another common thing in Logs is the occasional Runner's Recipe! Do feel free to share! 😉



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,080 ✭✭✭BeepBeep67

    I loosely follow the Marco approach just focusing on 1) getting enough protein 2) getting enough carbs and generally let fats look after themselves.

    I'm not overly anal about it weighing everything by the gram, but have my go-to diet and know what to do to hit racing weight and generally stay within 2kg of that all year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭Runster

    Hi Shotgunmcos, I was given a big container of Protein powder but don't know how much to take.

    I know you should take it within 20 minutes of the workout, how much do you take and do you find it works for runners

    or is it only useful for weight lifters?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Protein aids muscle recovery . For men though you have a large enough window to take that protein on board after a hard workout . For women it’s 30 mins and about 25-30g which can be taken as a protein shake .

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Hey I used High 5 Chocolate 4:1 for years but lately dropped it Holland & Barrett close by so currently using PE+ Strength & Performance Banana. My go to smoothie is a Monkey Business. Frozen Banana (break into chunks and store in a tub in freezer), orange juice, natural yoghurt and a 20g dollop of Pea & Nut Crunchy PB. I add a single scoop of The PE Nutrition and scoop of Flaxseed or toasted walnuts and a small squeeze of honey. Blend it all, Yum.

    1 scoop is about 30g. You can just put in a shaker with any kind of milk for ultra quick.

    I only take it after a hard session. I'll soon follow up with real food. Avocado and heavily seasoned poached eggs on homemade brown bread toasted is another quickie.

    No it is not just for weight lifters. I avoid the pure whey stuff as its mainly rank. Again only after hard sessions and especially If I expect DOMS.

    My go to after a long row or run us a pint of water with an electrolyte tab dissolved. Neck it and eat soon after, ensuring you get protein in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    Worth following Alan Aragon pretty good for research in the area but a lot of the most recent evidence points to window not actually being that important, overall daily intake is more important as long as protein replenishment occurs within a 6 hr window

    carb replenishment post exercise should be the higher priority.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 581 ✭✭✭FinnC

    A pint of Avonmore chocolate milk has something like 29g of Protein. Saves me time making shakes etc. Might work out more expensive but I’ve been using it for years after hard sessions and I find it works great.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Thanks I’ll have a look . There is a book called ”Roar” by Dr. Stacey Sims recommended on this forum -it’s premise is that women are not small men - and the book aims to match food and fitness to the female physiology for optimal performance. Really is a game changer. She can be followed on Facebook or Instagram . During my last marathon I followed her advice with regard to daily protein intake (1g per pound body weight ) and never felt stronger . Also has really interesting content on the use of gels / or not during endurance runs . Advises to keep hydration in the bottle and food in your belt etc - i.e gels and heavy concentrations of energy drinks can cause stomach issues and dehydration.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Tastes really good too and you can make hot choc out of in colder weather !

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    Here is the review I was thinking about.

    I take your point though alot of the research is based around male studies. In the few sex based studies they seem to focus more in training history and age as variables more so than sex

    it is funny you mention the prescription of g per lbs as this would be in line with the male optimum levels. I think on a macro level there is good physiological equivalency though I completely agree that physiologies are different though I would be viewing the variables being more applicable at the micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) level than macro nutrient level with the exception of fat consumption due to the hormonal implications

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Thanks - I’ll have a look . She goes into a lot of detail on how female hormones effect recovery and performance and how our capacity for using and assessing carbs is generally lower especially when estrogen is high- which slows our recovery times- which may mean that your running schedules should be tweaked at certain times to ensure recovery etc . We also mobilize more fat during exercise but less during recovery so good taken during endurance running and for recovery will make a difference . I don’t know if I’m explaining very well as it’s been a while since I read it .

    I think it’s a good resource for coaches etc to become familiar with - as the female cycle should be incorporated into training cycles for optimal performance

    I actually think it would be a unique selling point for coaches etc etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    Definitely worth a read to gain insight for sure.

    I know Sharon Madigan (Sports performance Nutrition and Dietetics at Sports institute) is another great resource in this regard and gives a lot of good advice in regards this and REDS specific advice. Fairly active on twitter but does a lot of talks for Athletics Ireland as well that are well worth attending if you get a chance

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,314 ✭✭✭Bluesquare

    Cheers - I’ll definitely take a look to see if I can find out if she is doing any talks soon - I wonder will she be talking as she part of the women in sport initiative currently taking place in athletics Ireland .

  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭babacool

    To be honest I’m using phd diet whey for the past 8 years. At first starting to drop weight, then to just have some flavour in my breakfast and now basically whenever I feel like it. I probably should be but I’m not too worried about this whole 30min window after a hard session. A nice Heineken zero to me is more important to get the carbs in.

    with regard to nutrition and sustainable weight loss I sort of struggled with that until April last year. Before that I dropped the weight by counting calories, eating at certain times etc. but weight fluctuated a lot. In April though I stopped the alcohol intake just to see what it does to the body. The result is that my weight has remained at a constant low level. I’m only 2kg above race weight and that throughout the whole time when before I could be up 6-8kg above it. And that despite eating a lot more than before. I’m still very mindful of what I eat (no McDonald’s!) but not restricting myself to a diet (I enjoy pizza, ice cream etc).

    since then my sleep has improved which impacted the recovery. My fuelling level is up which impacts the performance. My mood is a lot better and the overall improvement is sustainable.

    i do mix my runs ans sessions with regard to running on empty just to keep body and mind entertaint. Is there a real benefit? It depends on which study you want to believe. I enjoy the feel of hitting the wall during a session or long run for some reason. And that’s all that matters to me. What I don’t do (did in the past and never again) is to bring gels with me on runs. It’s something that I just can’t agree with anymore. I don’t think the body needs to be trained for it and during a marathon if you aim for anything sub3:10 I realised you don’t even need it. Plenty of water is more important. And water I would only take during training runs when it just waaaay too hot and I’m out for anything beyond 20k (and it needs to be an easy run. Sessions - no water).

    my go to runners recipe: a nice sandwich with chicken, banana, peanut butter, chocolate spread, lettuce and an egg! Carbs, protein, vitamin all in one go!

  • Registered Users Posts: 220 ✭✭E.coli

    I would imagine she would be heavily involved as she tends to do most of the AI talks around Nutrition etc, she works with the carded athletes

  • Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭Ed......

    Came across this recipe recently. A nice alternative to porridge in the morning. I haven't tried it with gluten free porridge yet but believe it would work just aswell.

    Porridge bread

    500ml natural yougert

    1 lrg egg

    2 tbsp rapeseed oil

    Mix together


    375g porridge oats

    2 heaped tsp bicarbonate soda

    1/4 tsp salt

    Cook in loaf tin 200'c


    Turn out of tin and cook for another 5 mins on oven shelf.

    It really is a very simple and tasty bread.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,921 ✭✭✭Bananaleaf

    Thank you for this. I struggle with porridge in the morning, mainly due to the fact that I hate it, lol. So I am going to make this tonight instead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭Runster

    One of my fav's at the moment is a container of Valencia nuts.

    Peeled roasted almonds with seasoning.

    You can get them in the deli section of Dunnes for about a fiver or Avoca Ballsbridge do them but they're more expensive.

    Much easier on the teeth than eating the raw almonds but not as pure.

    Another fav:

    Salad with Rocket, cheese, ham, boiled egg, black olives, baby tomatoes and smothered in Olive oil.

    It never get old.

  • Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭Ed......

    I really enjoy porridge but like some variety aswell. This bread is a great alternative to alot of wholemeal breads aswell as it doesn't contain any sugar or white flour. A thick slice with some lentil vegetable broth is my go to lunch ATM.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,921 ✭✭✭Bananaleaf

    It's just out of the oven

    I love it. I think this will be a staple when I start marathon training again. I have made porridge bread before but I never got it right. I never added oil or baking powder before, so that is obviously why.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 528 ✭✭✭Runster

    That reminds me of an interview I was listening to on the radio: 25 quid for a loaf of bread....

  • Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭Ed......

    Looks great,

    But it's bicarbonate soda( bread soda, baking soda)

    Rather than baking powder which is different. But maybe that's what you meant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    Making a nice brown bread was a WFH skill I picked up in 2020. Make it several times a week now. I'll give this a whirl though! We have pancakes every Sunday after the kids Rugby and for a change this week made oat and banana pancakes, no wheat! Thumbs up from the kids 😁

    A cup of rolled oats, 2 bananas, dash of vanilla extract,, heaped tsp baking powder, 2 eggs, 200ml oat milk or whole milk, pinch of salt. Blend until smooth and leave sit for 20 mins. Makes a load of small thick light pancakes. Served to the clan topped with sliced banana, halved blueberries, dollop of plain yoghurt and drizzled maple syrup... NOM!

  • Registered Users Posts: 799 ✭✭✭SeeMoreBut

    Nutrition I just use common sense. The vast majority of us know what is right and wrong to eat when training. Shouldn't need someone to tell us.

    On runs unless it is marathon training and doing the long runs it is all empty runs for me. Get up out of bed. Gear on a drink of water and out the door. Out the door is 6-6:30am

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭MayoSalmon

    "(Intermittent fasting and "empty" runs), only for the weight to creep back to where I started on another cold January morning. Bottom line is it was focus for the event but perhaps not sustainable for optimal health."

    Intermittent fasting empty runs just tanks your metabolism and is the reason why your weight crept back up.

    Not sure how in the world these things have crept into the sports world but fasting your body...aka putting it into starvation mode is not going to improve your performance. You have 3 trillion cells in your body...they ALL need Sugar aka glucose to perform at optimal level. If you run out of muscle glycogen thinking the body is going to use fat to maintain your performance is not backed up by any sports science.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    There is enough Glycogen for any given run under an hour at least, empty runs are not really empty, is my point. You don't need breakfast before you go out for a morning run. None of the breakfast is used (beside maybe liquid sugars). You burn off existing glycogen to feed those trillions of cells. Also you would not rely on burning fat to maintain performance. Its getting your body to burn fat at rest, is the thing. I didn't gain weight due to IF, I gained weight because I constantly grazed. Excess glycogen, became bodyfat, became weight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭MayoSalmon

    No you didnt gain weight because of excess glycogen, laughable to even suggest it really. You gained weight either due grazing FATTY food and/or hormonal changes due to your metabolism.

    If you studied anything about nutrition this then you would know that excess glycogen to fat (denovolipogenesis) is very inefficient process in the human body. Even after maximum saturation of glycogen stores the extra carbs are rarely turned to fat and definitely not substantial enough amounts to explain for weightgain. Studies have shown people need to eat something like 60% to 80% extra calories in the form of carbs for just 1% of those carbs to turn to bodyfat

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,208 ✭✭✭shotgunmcos

    OK excess glycogen no. That's a product of metabolism. My mistake, I was thinking too much sugar. Nice of you to be polite about it. So when you say excess fatty foods, I assume you mean sugar right? And where can you support your statement that it would take up to 80% extra kcals as carbs to contribute even a tiny fraction to body fat? If your muscle glycogen is saturated , what happens the extra 300g or so of carbs?

    Are you a nutritionist? Just to qualify your input, thanks.

    By gaining weight,for context, it was 6kg over 6 months, from a race weight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭MayoSalmon

    No certainly not sugar. Sorry to come across impolite, could be the internet.

    There is literally nothing wrong with Sugar and in fact its quite the opposite Sugar is magic. The demonization of sugar is a bizarre one. Your body NEEDS sugar aka glucose aka carbs. It is one of the five taste receptors on the tongue for a reason.

    Sugar doesn't make you fat and sugar doesn't rot your teeth. Sugar is PH neutral, the acid in the coke is rotting your teeth not sugar and the fatty content in the donut is making you fat not sugar.

    When I talk about fatty food I'm talking about just that, the macronutrient FAT. All fats are easily stored by the body, too much dietary fat makes people overweight not sugar. Majority of fats don't even change in molecular composition when you eat them, they go straight into storage as is. Probably one of the most efficient metabolic processes in the body and for good reason, fat will keep you alive at the end of the day. Honey Boo Boo will out survive Kipchoge in a famine, that is of course if she doesn't die from a heart attack before that lol.

    1 gram of sugar is 4 calories

    1 gram of fat is 9 calories

    But even then the body doesnt treat them the same way which we know.

    Have a look at this study on denovolipogenesis but there are plenty others

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,099 ✭✭✭whitelightrider

    Im new to the running world - at 44, Im not the youngest either :)

    Keeping an eye on posts like this will do so much to help me keep up the training.