Without knowing your daily nutritional habits it's hard for us to give advice on what you should be doing with your diet during the time that you are training with us but we thought we would share some useful general tips that will help you achieve good energy via nutrition as you take on this 5km challenge.
What to eat before and after your sessions:
Before your Session:
Feed the machine! A lot of people say "I just can't eat before a run" - you can, you just need to train your body to do this. Your body will adapt to anything if you train it, you are expending energy during the session so you need energy to expend and this comes from nutrition.
Ideally you want to make sure you have a healthy carbohydrate snack around two hours before a session. If you are doing morning sessions this can be harder to do this but you still want to get a small amount of carbohydrate in when you first get up in the morning, eg. a banana.
How your body responds to the volume of food differs for all of us so it's a bit of trial and error. Aim to put a little bit in (half a banana?) and then see how you go, if it feels ok you can add a little bit more until you find you have more energy and it's comfortable.
After your Session:
After the session you need to add some protein (for muscle repair) and carbohydrates (provides energy) back into our body. A protein shake with a banana, banana on toast, eggs are all good options here.
And remember to hydrate with water, particularly if you are training on warmer days when you are sweating more, this needs to be replaced.
Some other helpful nutrition tips as you progress through your journey:
Don't drink energy: Remove all the drinks in your life that have calories in them. If you are unsure which drinks have calories check out the labels. This doesn't mean you have to always drink water, just try to find calorie free/sugar free options. For example, if you like fizzy drinks always choose the zero option.
Training doesn't mean you can eat more: You've added up to 4 exercise sessions a week to your life, you may think that "surely I can eat a little more because I had a great run this monring!". The answer is no, if you are trying to lose weight don't let the inclusion of exercise be a reason to eat more.
Restrict alcohol to one or two days a week: While a lot of people love a glass or two of wine every night to help relax this does add a lot of energy into your body. By restricting alcohol to one or two days, you will remove a lot of excess energy that you may not need.
Food isn't a reward: When we do well we want to reward ourselves - which is a good thing!. But don't use food as the reward. Instead of having a chocolate bar or banana choc-chip muffin because you had a great run you could instead buy yourself a new training top if you go three weeks without missing a session. Remember giving yourself positive affirmations around the good work that you are doing could be enough of a reward.
Stay away from processed foods: Try to eat unprocessed foods. These foods will often come at a higher calorie cost and they don't deliver the best nutrients. Plan your meals or snacks around natural foods that will have a healthier effect on your body. Read the labels on the back of your food - if there are lots of ingredients in there you don't know or can't even pronounce - ditch it!
Stay away from "low fat" labelled food as often these include high levels of sugar to make up for taste.
You'll find that the training you are doing will create change in your body over the next period of time, it's all about putting good energy into our bodies for the session and using good nutrition to help our bodies repair and recover after your session.
These key tips above are all good rules to by guided by for the long term and will help you perform better. Your body will thank you for it, it’s working hard for you!
This is a great yoga sequence for runners that you can do at home. It's a nice gentle way to stretch out your body if you are feeling like you need a release.