Thursday, November 29, 2007

Eating to Run

I'll admit it—sometimes I run to eat. I count on my running to burn calories so that I can continue to eat well—though prudently—every day. And a post-run breakfast or brunch, where I indulge in some kind of a treat, is an important prize after every race. (I used to require a half-marathon to allow myself to indulge in a cinnamon roll, but I will admit I have also had cinnamon rolls—shared with others—after a couple of recent 10K's.)

But obviously, food is fuel, and what you eat plays an important role in your running ability, aiding in recovery and tissue repair after you beat your body up in a race or just day to day running.

I'm not a huge carb-eater, saving my carb-loading for pre-race dinners and breakfasts. I was pleased to read, in this article from, that many of the foods I eat regularly are ideal for post-run eating.

These foods include red bell pepper (which I eat daily except when it's too too expensive), salmon (a staple in my diet) and other proteins such as turkey and egg whites (also staples), carrots (which I don't eat much, but I do eat the alternatives of sweet potatoes and spinach), cereals fortified with zinc (okay, I don't eat cereal, but shellfish, sesame seeds and pumpkin seed are on my menu), and almonds (plus nut butter, avocado), another favorite.

The carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach have vitamin A, which helps produce white blood cells to fight infection. The zinc helps proteins and fats with healing, and the almonds provide vitamin E. The salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids (a significant anti-inflammatory), as well as protein (for building new cells and repairing bones, ligaments, and tissue). Finally, vitamin C (in the bell peppers), is crucial for repairing connective tissues and cartilage.

So by eating my normal low-glycemic, anti-aging, hopefully weight-loss-promoting diet, I am also helping my body repair itself from running, and prepare itself for the runs to come!

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