Experienced runners weigh in on how to find longevity in the sport.
This is a submission shared with permission from the elite New Balance Tampa Masters Racing Team.
I’m not a nutritionist or physician, but speak from decades of my own research and experience! As a masters athlete, the greatest change I experience is slower recovery—slower recovery from workouts and slower recovery from injury.
To help minimize this reality, through nutrition, I suggest the following:
First, choose foods that do not increase inflammation. The biggest offender in this category is sugar. “Carbs!” you scream. “I NEED my CARBS!” Slow down, I agree. We need some carbs. But do yourself a favor and avoid foods with a lot of simple sugars, and instead, obtain your carbs from vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice and a limited amount of fruit. I say to limit your fruit because thought it has many anti-oxidant properties, fruit contains a lot of simple sugar. I also have found that gluten can be an irritant to the gut in many with non-Celiac disease, and by avoiding heavy gluten intake, you also avoid systemic inflammation and recover somewhat better from workouts.
Next, choose foods that burn “cleaner” and last longer. Do you feel like you get hungry a lot? Do you know that if your body burned the higher octane fats, rather than carbs, you wouldn’t feel that way? By increasing fat, you are getting a “cleaner” fuel and reduce oxidative damage at the same time. And, don’t forget protein! One gram of protein per pound of body weight per day will help you rebuild the muscle you lose as you age.
Finally, eat cleanly to give your body a break from having to assimilate additives that really have no nutritional value. A good rule of thumb is to eat things with only one ingredient. Eat lots of greens and foods with color! Juice the vegetables you just can’t bring yourself to eat.
Try these ideas out for two weeks and you will see an improvement in your energy and recovery.