In like a Lion

You probably have heard this saying many times ... "In like a Lion, out like a lamb". March came in with a roar, which makes me hopeful that spring running is right around the corner. If you are a snow enthusiast, then I apologize that I am so pumped up for spring. For me, it means road and trail racing, triathlons and more outdoor activities. 

Do you have an event marked on your calendar for this spring/summer? I truly believe if you sign up for a 5K or 10K walk/run, a half or full marathon, a color run, a charity walk, a bike ride or whatever interests you; it will help you stay on course with your exercise plan. If you don't have an event or race on your calendar, there is still time to sign up for the Cellcom 5K and the half or full marathon in mid-May. Prevea also has a Saturday training run for these events. The training runs are inspirational as you run with hundreds of other runners/walkers. They offer water and Gatorade along the course so a perfect opportunity to start training with your nutrition plan. 

Now that you have an event on your calendar or are at the very least considering it; let's discuss fueling for fitness a bit more. I highly encourage you to eat before your training bouts. Some examples that may work for you include banana and peanut butter, cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, granola, fruits, smoothie, protein bar or oatmeal. It is also important to experiment with the amount of time you need before your training runs to feel best. For example, try eating two hours before you train and if you feel great, move it up to 1 hour and 45 minutes the next time etc. I know that some weekend warriors can eat at any time and not have any digestive upsets, but others really need to plan. You may be nervous on the day of your event so the more you practice your eating plan, the better you will feel.

If your training episode is longer than one hour, then you may need more than just water to refuel. My favorites include gels or a sports drink. You can also use sport beans, cut up fruits, granola or protein bars, jerky or whatever works for you. The key again is to practice with them and note how your body feels. 

Once you are finished training, remember to refuel and rehydrate. This is key so you replenish the nutrients used during your exercise bout and can recover quicker. I think most of us have experienced the feeling of fatigued or sore muscles at the start of a work out. Getting enough fluids and protein after your workout will certainly help with this.

Fueling for fitness is key! Take time to experiment with different hydration and fueling plans during your training sessions. It can make all the difference between a good day and an awesome one!

See more running and training nutrition tips.


About the Author

Deb is a registered dietitian for Prevea Health’s LeadWell corporate health and wellness program, a role that allows her to share her commitment to healthful living. She graduated with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point and completed her dietetic internship with Harper Hospital in Detroit. After graduation, Deb worked for area nursing homes until she joined HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in 1999. Her understanding of the importance of good nutrition started when she was very young as she tried to help her father with his medical conditions. Her passion for wellness and nutrition continues as she helps people incorporate lifestyle changes into their everyday lives.