Runners Guide to Nutrition: 5 Tips

Updated: Jul 29

Table of Contents:

5 Tips About Nutrition

5 Tips About Hydration

5 Tips About Electrolytes

5 Tips About Running Gels

5 Tips About Sports Drink



Proper Nutrition for Athletes: 5 Simple Tips


Have you ever uttered the phrase “I am running on empty”? Basically, what you are saying is that you are worn out or lack motivation. If you are not fueling properly, it can be quite true. Knowing your needs is crucial to training and racing success.


Why is Nutrition Important for Athletes?


There are several factors that impact our bodies, especially weight loss. There is more to it than calories in and calories out. Eating as little as possible and restricting calories causes our bodies to go into survival mode.


Am I Eating Enough?


So how do you know if you’re eating enough for your activity level? Here are 5 things to look for that should give you a better idea that your caloric intake might need to be higher.


How to Eat More Calories?


So What Steps Can You Take To Fuel Up The Tank?


Some simple suggestions that you can implement right away.

  • Add more fiber to your diet

  • Consume more fruits and vegetables

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Consider a whole food multivitamin (consult your doctor or nutritionist first)


Most importantly, listen to your body. Take a daily inventory of how you are feeling before during and after training. Are you fatigued? Are you gaining or losing weight? Have you hit a wall in your training? Hunger pains? Don’t ignore these signs as your body will certainly give you clues to what it needs.


5 Tips to Stay Hydrated in Summer


1. Drink Water


If drinking plain water is boring, try choosing flavored infused water or coconut water.


Tip: Choose a brand that contains no added preservatives and is 100% coconut water. Harmless Harvest, CocoXim, C2O, Creative Roots, and Coco Mojo are some healthy brands to choose from.


2. Eat High-Water Content Foods


Fruits and vegetables are always a good choice and contain a high-water content. This works in favor of non-water lovers.


3. Avoid Alcohol, Sugar, & Caffeine


Alcohol and caffeine are diuretics that can lead to dehydration in the body. Sugar is another thing that can lead to dehydration if blood sugar levels become too high.


Try substituting for fat-free or skim milk, smoothies, or sports drinks.


4. Supplements


Probiotics help with maintaining healthy skin and improve digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.


5. Vitamins


When it comes to vitamins it’s important to know what vitamins can be taken together. Potassium helps to regulate the fluids in the body and controls certain actions of the muscles. Combined with magnesium and calcium it helps to support your nervous system's function. They also support a healthy electrolyte balance in your body, which is related to hydration.


Vitamin K, vitamin D, and calcium work together to help your body absorb minerals better.


Vitamins that shouldn’t be taken together include zinc and copper, and calcium and iron because they block the absorption of each other by competing for the same receptors in your body. Recommended taking at separate times during the day.


5 Tips About Electrolytes


1. Sodium Chloride


An individual needs to consume about 500 mg of sodium daily so the human body can perform normal nerve and muscle functions such as, conducting nerve impulses, contracting and relaxing muscles, controlling blood volume, and maintaining the proper balance of water and minerals.


The estimated daily value for chloride is 2,300 mg so the body can balance acids and bases, balance electrolytes, help regulate fluids in the body cells and blood pressure, help the muscles and heart contract, help with digestion, send nerve impulses through the body to the brain, aid red blood cells (release oxygen and in-take carbon dioxide), and preserve electrical neutrality.


2. Calcium


The daily recommended intake is 1,000 mg - 1,200 mg. When you hear calcium, you automatically think that this is a mineral for healthy bones and teeth, but it does much more than that. It helps with blood clotting, blood pressure, muscle contraction, nerve functions, and regulating your heartbeats.


3. Potassium


The daily recommended intake is 3,500 - 4,700 mg. Potassium's role in the body is to help maintain the balance of fluids, and muscle contraction, and to support blood pressure.


4. Magnesium


The daily recommended intake is 400 mg - 420 mg. Magnesium’s role in the body is to support muscle and nerve function, muscle contraction, energy production, making DNA, protein, and bone, and regulating your heartbeat, blood sugar, and blood pressure.


5. Phosphate


The daily recommended intake is 700 mg. Phosphorus helps the body to filter out waste through the kidneys, support nerve and muscle function, and muscle contraction, make DNA and RNA and manage energy storage and usage, but its main function is to aid in the formation of bones and teeth.


5 Tips About Running Gels


1. Choose a Gel that is 100 Calories or more


Did you know exertion over 60 minutes requires you to start replenishing calories lost?


2. Consume an Energy Gel Every 45 min - 60 min


Knowing the exact number of calories burnt can vary from person to person. On average calories burned from walking a mile that is flat for an hour range from 100 - 300 cal.


3. Consume Water


Water helps your body digest the influx of sugar and makes it easier to go down.


4. Choose a Good Flavor


Choose a flavor that will go down easy and not upset your stomach. Try out your gels on a training run before taking them with you on a race.


5. Check the Weather


On hot summer days, you may want to limit the number of gels you consume that contain caffeine because it can lead to dehydration. Another thing to consider is the ingredients in the energy gels. Can it withstand the heat? Has it expired?