Race Faster - Kick the Sugar Fix!

Do you struggle getting through an afternoon energy crash without a caffeine hit?

Do you get sick a lot and miss work or runs because of it?

Do you bonk during runs more often than you’d like? Or maybe not during a training run, but during the frantic, shaky-hands search for quick calories after a run?

Do you hate that you must snack every two hours to keep focused at work or to avoid becoming the scary monster hangry version of yourself?

I have some wonderful news: all of these issues runners often face CAN be improved by simple dietary changes. And these dietary changes can improve your overall feeling of well-being as well as improve your race performance.

You do not have to resign yourself to the fact that getting hangry, getting post-run headaches, or constantly craving snacks are an unavoidable part of being a runner.

All of the symptoms described above are impacted by your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar appropriately.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of fat and vitamins, as well as a lasting source of energy.

We are all familiar with the fact that chronically elevated blood sugar levels can eventually lead to Type II Diabetes. But there are so many ways that blood sugar imbalances on a much smaller scale can impact us:

  • Imbalanced blood sugar can weaken our immune system by depressing white blood cell activity. This can lead to getting sick more easily and missing important training days.
  • The adrenal glands are an organ responsible for both processing sugar as well as supporting cardiovascular performance. Our ability to perform on race day requires healthy adrenal glands that are not overly taxed by excessive sugar in the diet.
  • We do not sleep as well when our blood sugar is chronically too high OR too low, and this prevents us from properly recovering from tough workouts.

So having healthy blood sugar regulation helps us to have consistent energy throughout the day, avoid the shaky-headache-hangry monster from coming out between meals, keeps us from bonking during runs, keeps us from getting sick, supports our performance during races, and helps us sleep better… that’s a long list!

Soup

A hearty winter soup can even be good for breakfast… unconventional but it will warm you up on a blustery morning.

Here’s the interesting bit: while nutrition before and during long runs is important to performance, what you eat every day will have a much greater impact on your ability to race fast repeatedly.

So here are a few simple ideas for improving blood sugar balance in your daily meals:

  • Breakfast: Pork sausage and veggie scramble with 2 eggs. Use any veggie you have at home – I like spinach and onion. Don’t worry about getting fancy, just sauté the sausage, veggies, and add in the eggs. The protein and fat in the morning will keep your energy consistent throughout the day.
  • Lunch or Dinner: Sweet + Spice Winter Bisque with chicken. Soups are a great way to get more veggies into your diet without eating salads all the time, and chicken broth has so many vitamins and minerals that are great for runners!
  • Beverage / Treat: I absolutely love finding ways to make our favorite sugary treats and coffees that are just as decadent without all that sugar. Try this Peppermint Mocha recipe.
Peppermint Mocha

Don’t deprive yourself of treats – but do find options that are just as delicious and leave you feeling good later!

If you want to take a more serious approach to improving your running through nutrition, check out the 3-week sugar detox classes I have starting in January. This would be a great way to set your 2017 season up for success through your diet!

Barb SkinnerBarb Skinner is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who loves coaching runners with busy schedules to eat a diet that helps them race faster and have consistent energy while training. She is a runner and triathlete and has competed in several marathons and Half IronMan triathlons. She offers customized nutrition plans and group sugar detoxes – learn more at www.liveandeatnutrition.com or email her at barb@liveandeatnutrition.com.

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