Smart Nutrition Tips for Runners
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Smart Nutrition Tips for Runners

Fuel your run with the nutrients you need to go the distance.

Keep your mojo running high with these smart eating strategies from Lauren Antonucci, RD, director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.

Before You Exercise

Skip the snack if you're running for less than an hour. "If you really need a boost, have 100 calories of mostly carbs, like a couple of handfuls of whole-grain cereal," she says. "Otherwise, drink 8 to 12 ounces of water or a low-cal sports drink and go." If running longer, eat a combo of protein and carbs, like toast with peanut butter and banana (200 to 300 calories), about an hour beforehand.

During Your Run

Gulp 6 to 8 ounces of H2O or other fluids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated. If running over an hour, your body wants more than water. "Sports drinks give you the electrolytes, fluids, and sugar-filled carbs you need," Antonucci says. Energy gels can also provide a surge.

When You're Done

"Eat within 30 minutes post-workout, when your muscles replace their power supply fastest," she says. Grab an 8- to 12-ounce glass of chocolate milk or a combo of mostly carbs (75 to 80 percent) with some protein (20 to 25 percent).

All Day Long

You don't need to bulk up on bagels now that you're training, Antonucci says. Aim to get about 60 percent of your diet from carbs, 20 percent from lean proteins, and 20 percent from fat.

More Nutrition for Runners

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Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.