What carbs are best for running?
Generally speaking the most ideal, nutrient dense sources of carbohydrates are whole grain breads, brown rice, white and sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables and fruits. These are the carbohydrate sources that should be consumed most regularly to fuel our running and to promote overall health. With that said, if you are trying to optimize your carbohydrate intake the day before a long run or the week leading up to a marathon or ultra, it is not going to be possible to obtain the grams of carbohydrates your body needs without feeling uncomfortably full and bloated taking in all whole grain sources. During these “carb loading” times, it is helpful to decrease the fiber rich sources of carbohydrates and opt for white bread, white rice, skinless potatoes and even some sugary foods. Prepping for a big race only happens a few times a year and is not going to make or break your overall health.
If you run, can you get away with eating more junk food?
As a dietitian, I promote the concept that “all foods fit.” When we categorize foods as “bad” or put them on a pedestal, it promotes overconsumption of these foods or a pattern of restriction and then feelings of deprivation leading to binging. The foods you should eat are the foods that you crave. If you find yourself craving large amounts of high energy foods with little nutritional value, it could be an indication that you are not taking in enough overall calories to support your running. Our cravings tell us a lot about what nutrients may be depleted and what we should be fueling with, but consistent cravings could be an indication of nutrients that are missing from the diet or nutrient deficiencies. This is something I work with many of my clients on and we find that once they learn to balance their diet, they manage their cravings well. (Cartoon by Mike Baldwin)
Is it possible to overdo hydration when running?
Hydration is taking in adequate fluid to replace the fluid lost during exercise as keeping the body’s fluid adequate to keep your body cool and delivery oxygen and nutrients to our muscles. However, adequate hydration also means taking in the sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium that is being lost to prevent muscle cramping and promote muscular contraction and heart health. Taking in only plain fluid in large quantities can cause hyponatremia, which is too little sodium in our blood compared to fluid, which can actually lead to what is known as over hydration. This condition can lead to dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, fatigue, irritability, and potentially seizures and coma. Taking in adequate fluid AND electrolytes is necessary before, during and after exercise to promote adequate hydration. Recommended drink mixes include nuun, hydrate, LMNT as well as other electrolyte drinks. S caps work well too.
Dr. DeLorenzo has been a Registered Dietitian (RD) since 2001. She received her BS in Food Science and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and her MS and Ph.D.in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ. She currently is the Program Director for the MS in Nutrition and Human Performance Logan University and serves as the team dietitian for USA Para Powerlifting at Logan.
In addition to dietetics, Dr. DeLorenzo is a 200-hour trained yoga teacher and teaches online yin yoga and power yoga and provides yoga therapy for clients with anxiety, body dysmorphia, and pain.
Dr. DeLorenzo specializes in working with athletes.
Click here for more information about Dr. DeLorenzo