Fuel Your Fire Friday!

Carbohydrates:

A Runner’s Best Friend

Carbs are the best source of energy for endurance athletes because our bodies break them down quickly so they can be used almost immediately.  The right amount of carbohydrates in a runner’s diet can prevent injury and fight off fatigue.  Adequate amounts of carbohydrates also prevent the use of precious protein as an energy source which is essential for efficient recovery.   It is important to note that complex carbohydrates found in whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables are especially benefitial because they leave you feeling full for longer and they steadily effect blood sugar levels without the notorious sugar spike and crash. 

Feeling slugish or lacking energy during your runs?  The following table can help you determine if you are meeting your carbohydrate needs:

Type of Activity

Daily Carbohydrate  Needs Per Pound of  Body Weight

Light to Moderate Training (1 hr/day) 2.3-3.2 grams per pound
Heavy Training Load and High Intensity (1-3 hrs/day) 3.2-4.5 grams per pound
Extreme Training and High Intensity Races (>4hrs/day) 4.5-5.5 grams per pound

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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