Nutrient Timing Is Everything For Runners

Same Athlete, Different Microcycle

Sample menu for a hard interval day:

*Breakfast: 60% carbohydrate/20% protein/20% fat – whole grain bagel with cream cheese


*Snack: Low GI carb choice— cottage cheese and fruit

*Lunch: Potato Soup, whole grain crackers and low residue fruit (ex: grapes, cantaloupe)

*Pre-Workout: Electrolyte drink

*During Intervals: Energy gel diluted drank throughout [high GI carb]

*Post-Workout: 20-25g whey protein and 1g carbs per kilogram bodyweight

*Dinner: 60% carbs/20% protein/20% fat –complex carbs (ex: baked potato, rice, bread)

*Snack: chocolate milk [sugar and protein to aid recovery]

Sample menu for an aerobic/easy day:

*Breakfast: 45% carbs/35% protein/20% fat – omelet with fruit

*Easy run

*Snack: Low GI carb choice— cottage cheese and fruit

*Lunch: 35% protein – chicken salad, side of Greek yogurt, fruit

*Snack: Peanut butter on rice cake

*Easy run

*Dinner: 35% protein – grilled salmon, veggies, one roll, and fruit

*Snack: skim milk [with 20-25g protein if need more calories]

Austin warns of a misstep many athletes can make, even with timing their fuel.

“A mistake is usually just going crazy with the calories,” Austin says. “It’s all about taking their total calorie need for the day and optimizing how we use them at each time point.”


About The Author:

Caitlin Chock set the then national high school 5K record of 15:52.88 in 2004. Now a freelance writer and artist she writes about all things running and designs her own line of running shirts. You can read more, see her running comics, and her shirts at her website.

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