Fueling for runners
February 28, 2020

In my effort to run faster, fuelling is a big part of that. I have 20 things I’m using to get faster and in previous videos I’ve shared a few of those things, today I’d like to share 5 more that all have to do with fuelling your body for your race and steps to take to become a faster runner.

Now let’s look at what we’re trying to achieve, the goal is to run faster. In the other videos I’ve mentioned training and becoming stronger in order to do that. It’s like lifting a 50 pound weight, you start light and build up to it until you can lift the 50 pound weight and it gets easier to do so. On the other hand, it would also make it easier to do so if the weight was lighter. So the same with running, if you have less weight your muscles have to move forward it will cost less effort.

A few months back after my trip to South Africa I shared that I had gained some weight that I wanted to lose, now I realise that you might not look at me and think it’s something I worry about, but I gained 5 kilos, that’s 11 pounds and I was not happy with it. I’ve lost the weight since then by adjusting my diet and also my pretty active lifestyle, so I’m not carrying around the extra weight on my runs.

Which brings me to my first fuelling item and that is the right Food intake. Now this is something that is a bit personal and it’s hard for me to say what you should eat or shouldn’t eat, but I can share what works for me. A couple of years ago I became a vegetarian, but more recently, a few months back, I started to eat a plant based diet, which means also no milk, cheese, eggs and such. This has been a pretty big change and what I can say for the results is that I think it sped up my weight loss and my energy level is the same as it was before I think. What I do watch for a lot more now is that I get enough protein in my diet. So I eat a lot of beans and nuts and things like that to make sure I get the protein I need to keep my body building muscle instead of tearing it down.

22 Best vegetarian protein sources.

So how much protein do you need, this depends on the person. It’s about 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. On average that is between 50 and 60 grams for a man and between 40 and 50 grams for a woman. Now to get those proteins I eat a lot of soy beans or soy bean products, corn and kale are great protein sources. And of course nuts, where peanuts are my secret weapon, cause 100 grams of peanuts contain 25 grams of protein which is almost half the daily protein intake you need. So when it comes to food, I stay away from animal products and make sure I get my protein sources. This is what works for me. If you do eat meat you also still want to make sure you get the amount of protein that you need though, so keep your eye on that.

The second fuel my body needs is water, you may have heard me say this once or twice, but you need to hydrate. This is not just for while you are running, but also before and after, so basically always. Make sure you get enough water so your body can function properly, you can recover from your training runs and your body is ready for the race. I’m hydrating using my H2O pal bottle that makes it easier for me to keep track of what I drink and that way I can make sure that in the weeks coming up to the race I will be hydrated and ready for the impact the race is going to have on my body.

Another fuel I’m going to be using is Beet juice. I started trying that last year to see if it would help me out and I never got to use it for the half marathon then, so I will be using beet juice again this year. Beet juice is said to help you perform better and give you more stamina. Research has shown it raises nitric oxide levels in your body and that can increase blood flow, improve lung function and strengthen muscle contraction. So all those things can be very beneficial for a race. So I’ll be taking Beet juice shots in the days coming up to the race and on race day before the race.

I’ll also be using sport gels, which is kind of a bonus tip and not in with the 20 tips. I use gels to fuel during the race. Specially with a longer distance your body will need some extra energy to keep going, so my GU gels are great for that.

One more thing that I fuel my body with is supplements, now I don’t like to usually talk about this, cause it really depends on the person what supplements you should be taking. So I’ll share what I’m taking, but if you want to know what you should be supplementing the best way to find out is to do a blood test so you can see if you need more iron, more vitamin D or whatever you are not getting enough of. I live in the Netherlands, so during the winter we hardly get any sun, so over here I think everybody can probably use some vitamin D. I eat plant based food, so I need to supplement my B12. I normally don’t like to take multi vitamins, but at the moment I’m taking them, just for a little boost of everything. And I’m taking Ginseng which is supposed to increase your energy level. The Ginseng I’m only taking the two weeks leading up to the race, that is not something I use all the time.

So to round it all up, numbers 7 through 11 of what I’ll be doing to try and get to that finish line faster is.
Lose weight so I have less weight to cary
Food intake, watch what I eat and get enough protein
Hydration, make sure I’m hydrated enough every day
Beet juice, try and get an advantage from drinking beet juice
Supplements, try and get the right supplements to have my body in good shape and energised.

So that is 11 steps so far with 9 more to go. Until next time, get out there and run.

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