Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian, nor do I have a degree in nutrition. However, I have two coaching certifications and educate myself as best as I can on science-based nutrition principles. If you have any questions, I suggest contacting your doctor or a registered dietitian (I recommend Jen, Emma, and Sam).
As we move into April, we’re now chatting about nutrition as part of Running Coaches Corner. Both of my coaching programs (Revolution Running and NAASFP) had sections on nutrition. Instead of trying to discuss all aspects of nutrition, I’m going to break it down into the three macronutrients: fat, protein, carbs (not necessarily in that order), and close off April discussing race day nutrition and recovery.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Though often maligned in trendy diets, carbohydrates — one of the basic food groups — are important to a healthy life.
Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram (the same as protein)
How many carbohydrates do runners need?
The amount of carbohydrates required will vary depending upon the source you use.
NAAFSP recommends 57% of your daily caloric intake should come from carbs. For a 2,000 calorie diet this works out to 285g of carbs per day (personally, I feel like this is on the higher-end, but I am a person who doesn’t eat a ton of refined grains or carbs).
Jen’s nutrients for active people recommends 3g-5g/kg of body weight or 45%-65% of your daily caloric intake (take your daily caloric needs and divide by 4 to give the number of grams you should consume).
When should runners consume carbohydrates?
All day, errday, friends!
Unlike protein, I think it’s easier to consume carbohydrates throughout the day without thinking too much about it. Carbohydrates are naturally in fruits and vegetables, so by eating a sufficient amount of fruits and veggies, we’re working to fulfill our carbohydrate needs.
After performing any activity where you may have depleted your glycogen stores (carbohydrates are broken down and stored as glycogen) it’s important to consume carbohydrates soon after to replenish. If you’ve ever felt woozy, or hungover after a race, or long run, it’s likely because you depleted a significant amount of glycogen and didn’t eat (or eat enough) carbohydrates to refuel your body.
A runner weighing 150 pounds should consume 204g-341g of carbs in a day (using the 3g-5g/kg recommendation above).
Depending on the length and intensity of the activity, it may also be beneficial to consume carbohydrates during exercise as well (come back in 2 weeks when I talk about pre and post-race recovery!).
A day of food
Similar to last week, I tracked what I ate yesterday (yes, it looks the same as last week because I’m boring and always eat the same thing) to see how many grams of carbs I consume on a typical day. My leg was recovering from my IMS session on Monday, so I rested (but am now cleared to run!) which is why there is no post-workout snack this week.
1c 2% plain greek yogurt with 1c of berries and 1/4c granola
1/4c trail mix
1/2 sweet potato, kale and roast chicken
Tilapia and green beans
Total daily carbs: 130g
As you can see, I definitely eat on the low-end of carbohydrates, but I can’t say I feel I’m lacking, or like I’m not eating enough (though maybe I should eat more?). That said, I should definitely focus on increasing my carbohydrate intake when I’m back to training as I’ll need more to fuel my body.
[Tweet “Carbohydrates are delicious! Do you know now much you should be eating? #sweatpink”]
How many carbs do you consume? What would you pick, carbs or protein?
Linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Angelena Marie from Angelena Marie: Happy, Healthy & Balanced , Michelle at Fruition Fitness and Nicole from Fitful Focus.
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