Nutrition tips to help your run training
Cold, wet, dark…let’s face it: winter training can sometimes be a struggle! Being pro-active with nutrition during the colder months can help keep you motivated for training, ensure you stay illness and injury free and result in you being in top shape come spring.
Longer, steady runs often form the foundations of winter training. During this steady-state exercise your body will be using fat as a fuel, tapping into muscle glycogen stores during periods of increased intensity. Planning to complete a few morning runs a week in a carbohydrate fasted state can be a good way to further enhance the bodies’ preference for fat as a fuel, making you even more effective at glycogen sparing. This simply means not eating any carbs before heading out on a morning run, instead eating some protein and/or fat (for example eggs and avocado) and saving your carbohydrate for after the session.
A word of warning: training minus carbohydrate can make the session feel harder- if this happens to you, try using some caffeine in the form of coffee, or a supplement like Etixx Energy Release, which contains additional energy releasing vitamins) to give you a burst of energy on those mornings when you need a helping hand.
Well-rehearsed hydration strategies often get left out in the cold over winter months, due to a reduced drive to drink making us feel like it isn’t necessary. However, extra layers of clothing despite sometimes mild weather can result in moderate-high sweat rates and dehydration. Sipping on a flavoured isotonic sports drink throughout long runs such as Etixx Isotonic Powder or Etixx Triple Action Energy Gel Isotonic can help to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, help you retain fluid and encourage you to drink more when you can’t rely on thirst alone.
Tip: Wearing minimal clothing, weigh yourself before and after training to check how much fluid you’ve lost through sweating. Calculate 1.5 x any weight lost in kilograms. This is the amount of liquid (fluid + electrolytes) in litres you need to drink to get you back to a hydrated state. Try mixing an isotonic or recovery powder like Etixx Isotonic Powder or Recovery Shake Chocolate with hot water to create a comforting recovery drink.
Carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals are all key players when it comes to keeping your immune system healthy. Make sure you replenish carbohydrates after training by consuming wholegrain foods (e.g. oats, brown rice) with some fruit or veg to give you a vitamin and mineral boost. Important micronutrients for immunity include vitamin C (kiwi fruit, berries, broccoli) and magnesium (dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds). Eating a varied, balanced diet should give you a sufficient intake, but during periods of harder training why not be creative and kind to your body by combining these nutrient dense foods into a beautiful smoothie - try a Etixx Recovery Shake Chocolate with berries, oats and yoghurt).
An often overlooked, but important immune and bone building vitamin is Vitamin D, which is usually produced by the skin in response to UV rays. A combination of insufficient sunlight and decreased skin exposure due to winter temperatures can cause Vitamin D insufficiency, affecting calcium absorption and potentially impacting on bone health. Taking nutritional care of your bones and joints is essential during periods of volume focused training, so it is worth trying to increase your intake of Vit D rich foods (fish, egg yolks) and/or using a joint health supplement such as Etixx Impact Support to keep you running strong all winter.
Author bio: Glen Kearney
Glenn Kearney is one of a number of experts working with Etixx nutrition to ensure that their products reflect the most current research available and the needs of athletes. In his role as an elite sports nutritionist, Glenn has managed the nutrition of a number of high profile teams and individuals across a variety of sports. The Lawn Tennis Association, British Athletics at London 2012 Games, New Zealand All Blacks and the New Zealand Olympic Track Cycling team have been among those lucky enough to have worked with him.