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9 July 2015

Running is a fantastic cardio exercise that strengthens the lungs, improves the mood, relives stress and burns calories. Better yet, anyone can start whenever the mood strikes because there’s no equipment required.

Fuelling the body with the right nutrition always makes for a better run so here’s a handy guide for new runners on how to make the most of their jogs, marathon runs and sprints:

Carb up

Load up on carbohydrates the evening before and on the morning of a long run. Potatoes, pasta, oats and rice are absorbed by the body and stored as glycogen and glucose – these reserves spark into action when the going gets tough. Taking creatine, which boosts the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body and kick-starts energy release, is useful for distance runners too.

Wait it out

During training wait two to four hours after eating a big meal before exercising (30 mins is sufficient after a small snack). Avoid high-fibre foods, spicy meals and alcohol too as these can adversely affect the gut but do eat oily fish rich in fatty acids and take Omega 3 supplements or Flaxseed Oil to boost heart health. It’s worth testing out whether a meal plan is working by doing a ‘dress-rehearsal’ run before competing.

Hype up the hydration

Drink water to compensate for sweat loss when undergoing distance training in preparation for a marathon. Sports drinks can be really helpful for replacing water, sugars and electrolytes. However, the amount of fluid the body needs will depend on the runner’s weight, gender, sweat rate and the climate.

Drink to thirst

Many professional runners advise drinking to thirst to avoid overfilling their stomach with fluid. Short runs that are less than an hour long don’t require extra fluids during training.

Promote recovery

A snack combining protein to repair muscles and carbs to refuel the body, eaten within 30 minutes of crossing the finish line, will speed up recovery. Drinks made with whey protein provide a light and quick way to load up on protein after a run.

Stay safe in the sun

Running in the summer can be tough for beginners who aren’t used to hot temperatures. It’s vital to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water prior to a long run and sipping on isotonic drinks during training. Wearing clothing that reduces chafing and applying a lubricant over problem areas is also advised to prevent soreness. Protecting the skin from harmful UV rays by wearing clothing that covers the body and applying a sunscreen with a high SPF is essential to staying safe in the sun.

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