Here’s our comprehensive guide to Maintaining a balanced diet while taking on a Fitwins Virtual Challenge
Virtual running challenges are a great way to get in shape and improve your overall health. But, if you’re new to running and looking to improve your total fitness levels, then you may be wondering what you need to eat to fuel your workouts and recover properly.
The good news is that there’s no need to overhaul your entire diet when you start running and taking on the world in the Fitwins virtual challenges. But there are a few key things you can do to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to perform your best.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of eating a healthy diet for runners, and we’ll provide some tips on how to create a diet that will help you reach your running goals, and ultimately earn yourself a true sense of achievement, and tangible rewards in the form of a certificate of achievement and a heavyweight medal to keep as a memento of your success.
You may wish to take on a virtual running challenge slowly, notching up a few miles here and there, or you might want to take it seriously and reach for the biggest distance ribbons. If you want to become a long-distance runner, it is important to eat a healthy diet that will give you the energy you need to train and race. Here are some tips for eating for long distance running:
Eat plenty of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are important for runners because they are the body’s main source of energy. When you run, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is then used to fuel your muscles. If you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your diet, you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, and other problems, which can lead to injury.
As well as providing energy, carbohydrates also help to:
- Maintain blood sugar levels
- Protect the liver and kidneys
- Promote healthy digestion
- Provide fibre, which is important for gut health
It is important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal. Some carbohydrates are better for runners than others. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates, such as candy and soda. This means that complex carbohydrates provide a more sustained release of energy, which is important for runners who are training for long distances.
When planning your diet, it is important to include a variety of carbohydrates from different food groups. This will help you to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to perform your best.
Choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates, and eat them throughout the day, not just before or after running. Remember to mix it up, and get your carbs from whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
Eat enough protein
Protein is important for runners because it helps to build and repair muscle tissue. When you run, your muscles break down. Protein helps to rebuild those muscles, making them stronger and more resilient.
In addition to building and repairing muscle tissue, protein also helps to:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Boost the immune system
- Transport oxygen throughout the body
- Produce enzymes and hormones
- Build and repair bones and cartilage
- Regulate blood sugar levels
Some proteins are better for runners than others. Complete proteins, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, contain all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Incomplete proteins, such as beans, nuts, and seeds, do not contain all the essential amino acids. However, you can combine incomplete proteins to create complete proteins. For example, you could eat beans with rice or nuts with seeds.
Eat healthy fats
Healthy fats are important for runners because they provide several benefits, including:
- Energy. Healthy fats are a slow-burning source of energy, which means they can help you sustain your energy levels during long runs.
- Cell health. Healthy fats are essential for building and maintaining cell membranes, which are the outer layer of cells. Healthy cell membranes are important for a variety of functions, including nutrient absorption, waste removal, and protection from damage.
- Hormone production. Healthy fats are essential to produce hormones, including testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone. These hormones play a role in a variety of functions, including sex drive, mood, and metabolism.
- Inflammation. Healthy fats can help to reduce inflammation, which can be a problem for runners who are prone to injuries.
- Digestion. Healthy fats can help to improve digestion by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Some good sources of healthy fats for runners include:
- Fish, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel
When planning your diet, it is important to include a variety of healthy fats from different food groups. This will help you to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to perform your best.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, but it is especially important for runners. When you run, you sweat, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause a number of problems, including fatigue, muscle cramps, heat stroke, headaches and dizziness, and in severe cases, dehydration can be fatal
- Muscle cramps
- Heat stroke
- In severe cases, dehydration can be fatal.
To stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your runs. The amount of fluid you need will vary depending on the length and intensity of your run, as well as the weather conditions.
Here are some tips for staying hydrated when running:
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, not just before or after your run.
- Drink water, sports drinks, or other fluids that contain electrolytes.
- Carry a water bottle with you on your runs.
- Drink fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet is important for everyone, but it is especially important for runners. When you run, your body burns calories and nutrients. If you don’t eat enough healthy foods, you may not have the energy you need to run your best. You may also be more likely to get injured.
In addition to eating a healthy diet, it is also important to get enough sleep and to listen to your body. If you are feeling tired or sore, take a rest day. And if you are experiencing any pain, see a doctor.
Fitwins was originally developed by runners, for runners, and over time it has come to envelop a variety of ways to keep fit, including walking, hiking and cycling. It remains very popular with runners, and some of our participants will take on huge distances over the course of the monthly challenge. They know the importance of maintaining a balanced diet, and they are active members of our social media community groups. Why not join us there to ask any other questions you might have about keeping a strong diet whilst building up your running stamina?
All of our virtual running challenges are available to take on completely free, so download the app for free on your Android or Apple device and register for the current or next available challenge to give it a try. If you enjoy the experience and find, like many more of our users, your motivation to get more active is increased and you smash your distance goals, then you can always upgrade to a medal entry and earn yourself an amazing reward pack, which includes a certificate of achievement, treats from our partnered brands, and a heavy duty, exclusively designed medal to keep as a memento of your success.