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Endurance Running Nutrition

Athletic trainers are experts in providing health care for active populations. Almost all of us have a master’s degree in athletic training or a closely related field. However for some concerns, like nutrition, we rely on our colleagues who are registered dietitians. 

I have been receiving a lot of  nutrition related questions from my clients lately so I reached out to Alex Larson, a registered dietitian who specializes in endurance athletes. Here are some of her pearls of wisdom!

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is about to train for their first marathon and is overwhelmed by all the choices of  gels, chews, etc?

A: See if you can buy a few varieties of products in flavors that you tend to enjoy. Try them out either before or during your runs to see how you like them. Make sure to also consume them with water! .  Another option is to research what your race will be offering at aid stations and to trial those well in training. 

Q: I have had so many runners tell me that they just can’t stomach any food in the morning before an early run. I usually say that at the minimum I want them to try a banana and a full glass of water. Do you have other tips?

A: A banana is a great start. Liquid carbs will usually be more tolerable when you don’t have an appetite, such as applesauce or juice. Simple foods like graham crackers are popular to use. Or, use sports fuel like some energy chews. 

Q: One of my running buddies suggested I write a blog post about fad diets. I think that topic is way too big and beyond my scope. Would you be willing to share a couple of sentences about what a runner should do if they see a diet on their social media and think “Hmm maybe I should try that?”

A: Run away! 

Fad diets tend to be restrictive, nutritionally inadequate, difficult to comply with and while they may result in quick weight loss, the weight loss is temporary. Don’t fall for the claims that the fad diets report. It’s going to do more harm than good. When it comes to diet and diet products, if it sounds too good to be true. It likely is.

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