While many of us run purely to get fit and burn calories, eating the right food can be critical in getting the best out of your training. A great way to stay on track with your diet is to consume healthy snacks throughout the day, and both before and after a run.
Sports Dietitian John Swale, said: “The right snack can prevent premature fatigue on a run and can help keep blood-sugar levels steady, stopping bad moods that may cause you to tire out early”.
With this in mind, and with the help of several specialists in the field of health and nutrition, we’ve put together a list of the best and most healthy running snacks:
Porridge is the perfect snack for before a race, but it’s also good for whenever you wake up feeling hungry and ready for a hearty breakfast. Dietitian Roanna Freeman, said: “Porridge is a great way to start the day as it will make you feel fuller for longer meaning you are less likely to snack throughout the day.” Studies have shown that a bowl of porridge helps lower cholesterol, and it will also fill you with plenty of carbohydrates to boost energy and alertness.
Calories: 250kcal per bowl made from 45g dry oats and semi-skimmed milk
Honeyed banana and dried fruit porridge
2) Greek yogurt with fresh fruit
Low in fat and fairly high in carbohydrates, yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, protein and potassium. Its live and active cultures are good for the digestive system, and the fruit provides a variety of potassium and vitamins.
Calories: 250kcal per 200g of low-fat yoghurt and handful of fresh fruit
Bananas provide both carbohydrates and potassium, which help prevent muscle cramps. They’re easy to digest because of the simple sugars and low amount of fibre, making it the ideal pre-run snack (though make sure you give yourself at least 90 minutes to digest before running). Banana chips are also great to take on long runs for energy boosts.
Calories: 105kcal per medium-sized banana, 150kcal per handful of banana chips
Banana – the perfect running snack
Smoothies are packed full of calcium, potassium and vitamins C and A when made with fruit such as bananas orange juice and frozen berries. Smoothies can work well for breakfast, before a run, or as a refreshing, re-energising post-run treat.
Calories: Approximately 200kcal per 350ml
Ingredients for fruit smoothie
Though fairly low in calories, carrots are filling, making them an ideal snack for runners who are trying to loose weight. A great time to eat them is just before dinner, so you can satisfy your hunger, and avoid over-eating during the meal.
Calories: 30-40kcal per medium-sized carrot
6) Cereal bars
When you need a snack that’s easy to pack in your gym bag, cereal bars are a great option and work well as a pre-run snack (though make sure you eat it over 90 minutes before you plan to run). Be careful when selecting your cereal bars as some can contain as much fat and sugar as chocolate bars – choose ones with just a few ingredients, so you know they’re not filled with unnecessary additives.
Calories: From around 110kcal per 30g bar
7) Hummus and Pitta bread
Hummus and pitta bread is packed with protein, fibre, vitamin B6 and folic acid (but be careful: hummus can have up to 27.9g of fat per 100g, even though it’s almost all the ‘healthy’ kind). Hummus works well as a substantial mid-morning or afternoon snack, and can also work well as a healthier evening alternative to peanuts or other fried party snacks.
Calories: 280kcal per three tablespoons of hummus and one pitta
Homemade chilli hummus and pitta
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Swimming and running compliment each other in so many ways, and when it comes to fitness, recovery, and feeling good, an hour in the pool is worth as much, if not more, as an hour on the roads.
Swimming can be used by runners to develop lung capacity, strengthen core muscles, refresh workout routines and ultimately, improve running fitness. Runner’s World magazine calls pool workouts “hands-down the best cross-training for runners”
The resistance of water offers a cooling workout that taxes the body enough to maintain cardiovascular and muscular fitness, while zero-impact environment aids in recovery and injury prevention.
Below are a list of several ways you can integrate swimming into your regime:
Rather than plunging into longer, endurance-style swimming, initially try interval training using regular freestyle. Sprint 25 meters (one length), rest 30 seconds, then repeat four to six times. Eventually increase your sprinting distance until you can do 50 meters (two lengths) six times. Finish each set with a few slow, easy laps of freestyle or breaststroke.
Swim laps for stamina
Those who are used to running long distances but haven’t swum in a while may have a shock when hitting the water. Swimming uses muscles and fitness in completely different ways to running, so to start, time how long it takes to swim 10 steady laps,using a combination of breaststroke and front frontcrawl to avoid boredom. Try and improve on this time a few times. By swimming for long-periods will help build lung capacity.
Deep-water running provides cardiovascular benefits while strengthening thigh, ankle and calf muscles in a low-impact workout. Standing in chest-high water, run across the pool, using normal running form. The water provides resistance, so you have to work harder to run.
To gauge your pace, compare how you feel while running in the water with how you feel running on the road (your perceived exertion). Or use your land times as a guide. If you typically do an interval workout of 8 x 400, take your time, say, one minute and 40 seconds, and run 8 x 1.40 at a hard effort in the pool.
Well, it’s all over! I really hope you enjoyed the experience of the half or full marathon. It was a great day with great support on the route. The numbers participating were amazing too so well done one and all. I finished the full marathon in 3.38 which considering the heat and the hilly course (a big challenge at times) I was delighted with. I hope you did well too.
So what so we do now? Well, I’m taking 2 weeks off from running but will get walking a few evening and plenty of stretching and generally looking after myself and basking in the glory of the achievement
Well done and take care!
21st August 2014
Well here we are! The last few days of preparations for the Donegal half and full marathons! Can you believe it! These few days are about preparing your mind to run the distance. Training wise, take it easy and if you run then go for a short lazy run. It’s all about conserving energy now, getting plenty of rest and eating well to build up the reserves in the body for the big day.
Eating well and sensibly such as reducing or staying off the alcohol until after the race, eating iron containing meat and vegetables and later in week pasta and white meat. Getting to bed early and having a good night’s sleep. Mentally, I’ll take some time to think about the course, visualise myself finishing it successfully and preparing myself to enjoy the experience of the day. I really mean that... enjoy every minute... we have trained all summer long so it’s a day of celebration.
The celebrations look good for the Aura with the family day so they’ll be plenty of noise and support as you finish your race. Volunteers are in place and its all go. Get registered early Saturday (between 12noon and 6pm) and chat about the race to friends and colleagues.
Finally, don’t chance wearing anything new for the race – stick with what works and even if your socks have gone grey in the wash (like mine have) stay with them. It’s not about looking good to everyone else but about feeling good in what you wear so don’t change an item of clothing that you have worn for your longer runs.
Thanks for checking in each time the blog was updated and thanks to the Donegal Marathon Committee for asking me to contribute of the last few months. Well done to you all for bringing the ultimate race back to the North West.
Best wishes to all and good luck!!
Well here we are! The last week of preparations for the Donegal half and full marathons! Can you believe it! I write this week as I’ll be preparing myself as best I can all week next week, both physically and mentally. Training run wise, I’ll be finishing the Sunday long runs with a 10 to 12k jog and intend to run two 5 ml runs during next week.
More importantly, it’s a week to take care and prepare well for the 24th. Eating well and sensibly such as reducing or staying off the alcohol for the week, eating iron containing meat and vegetables and later in week pasta and white meat. Getting to bed early and having a good night’s sleep. Mentally, I’ll take some time to think about the course, visualise myself finishing it successfully and preparing myself to enjoy the experience of the day. I really mean that... enjoy every minute... we have trained all summer long so it’s a day of celebration.
The celebrations look good for the Aura with the family day so they’ll be plenty of noise and support as you finish your race.
Finally, don’t chance wearing anything new for the race – stick with what works and even if your socks have gone grey in the wash (like mine have) stay with them. It’s not about looking good to everyone else but about feeling good in what you wear so stay with what you have done your long runs in.
Thanks for tuning in each time the blog was updated and thanks to the Donegal Marathon Committee for asking me to contribute of the last few months. Well done to you all for bringing the ultimate race back to the North West.
Best wishes to all and good luck!!
11th August 2014 – 13 days to go!!!
Whoa! 13 days to go. I was on hols for a few weeks but still managed to train. It’s great to be well on the wind down now and looking about keeping yourself free from injury and resting with plenty of sleep. Having said that i nearly broke my arm today as i slipped getting into the car!!
So for me while it’s about keeping the running ticking over, it’s also about building up the positive mental approach needed for such a long run. I need to work on this and the Motivation Mondays on our Face book page are brilliant and witty for this. I will try to get some quiet time over the next 2 weeks to sit and relax, visualise the route and remind myself that I have done enough training and I will run it all
So good luck to you as you look after yourself. If it’s your first half or full marathon, don’t panic if you think you haven’t done enough. You have so believe in what you have done over the summer months. August 24th will be a great day for us all and our families will be supportive and happy for us.
Take care and eat well
17th July 2014 - 37 days to go
Just when you’re doing great and feeling great, you get hit with a weekend summer sniffle! That affected the long run on Sunday last so like life you adjust and adapt. The summer cold came upon me after a great week’s training which included 9K, 8x 300m strides and a 14k runs. Delighted with that but on Friday night the runny nose started and while treated with carrageen and elderflower tea I was unable to run the 35 as planned. The long run was postponed until Wed 16th so 7am in Letterkenny saw me run 30k in rain and heat. I was delighted with that but sore left calf muscle and right knee – time for ice
Plan until end of July is two 35k runs – going to be tough!!! For August it’ll be the DMcD 15k on Bank Holiday weekend and two 10k along with three mid week runs each week.
Good luck with your training this week and the 5k’s! Getting there!!!
7th July 2014 – 49 days to go!!
I’ve been on two weeks hols but the running has continued. The focus these weeks to the end of July is training during the week to ensure that the long runs at the weekend are doable!! The past fortnight has seen 2 x 30mins runs and a 5ml and 10ml runs with long runs of 26K and 30k. Delighted with this as I felt I could keep going after the longer runs. The mind is now turning to diet over the next 6 weeks – looking at green veggies, liver and red meat and then pasta and chicken. Also looking at avoiding injury so even watching how I get in and out of the car. Sounds silly but the recovery from the longer runs takes longer now so have to watch how I go in between training. The plan now is two 35k runs and a 30k run before the Danny McDaid 15k race on 3rd August which is placed well in the wind down from training
Hope you are doing well with your training so enjoy the journey and the 5 & 10k races this week