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11 Broad Based Runner’s Nutrition Mistakes

runner's nutrition mistakes

11 Broad Based Runner’s Nutrition Mistake
By Will Lind
Image © roman4 / Dollar Photo Club

Nutrition is like any other running topic; always evolving, limits always pushed and the new and old breaking apart then melding into newly accepted norms. We see this in the fads (new, dead and reborn), the gimmicks (there to make a buck), and a few basic fundamentals that sit somewhere in the middle ground.

These mistakes are reversals of the main fundamentals I like to stick to and what I pass on to runners I coach or guide. For the most part it’s about common sense, discipline, simplicity, flexibility and consistency:

1. Jumping From Eating Plan to Eating Plan: Just like with training plans, don’t bail on your eating plan so soon. Stick to it for six to eight weeks at least before you start stressing about not leaning up and getting faster.

2. Avoid copy-catting freakish outliers: These are the people who successfully break all the rules and win major prizes or make it big. There’s a reason they have succeeded where no one else has. Maybe they have discovered the latest and greatest thing. Or, they’re a freak, an enviable, powerful athlete who is one in a million or more. We’re all special, just don’t base your strategies off the slimmest of chances that their results will work for you.

3. Listening to the hottest celebrity advice: We’re all out to make a living, I know, but some celebrities do whatever it takes to keep themselves in the limelight so their name keeps selling books, products or services. Their mission is to remove the money from your wallet, not to make you as an individual a happier, better runner. How do you know who to listen to? It’s tough to say. If they’ve been hammered by the press and their peers and stood the test of time, maybe, just maybe, they have something you should be taking into account.

4. Not Changing Anything At All: Sometimes you don’t know it’s broken until you test it. Experiment and try new things. See if what you were doing was actually right for you. Ignore all my rules and follow a fad. Things might improve. Things might not. One or two tough, tired run because you weren’t fueled right won’t break your run goals. Years of crappy training because you refused to ditch some foods and try others will.

5. Not taking post run recovery food seriously: Yes, you need to eat after you run hard.  You generally want a carbohydrate and protein based food after your harder runs, consumed (most often inhaled due hunger) within an hour of the exercise.

6. Not planning race or event nutrition: Yup, create a nutrition strategy based upon your own experiences and advice from those in the know.

7. Not testing your race nutrition plan: Go out and check if your nutrition strategy even works. How does that food sit in your belly? Too many carbs or too few? Boating? Cramping? Spewing? The runs? Find out before your events for a more pleasant, satisfying race experience.

8. Hydration.  Do you even H2O?

9. Stuffing yourself with whatever: I’m so, so sorry to have to say this but your run is not an excuse to binge eat. Definitely plan yourself something tasty and satiating. Sure, run hard and include some, ahem, extras, but the enormous pre-race meal and the mega monster post run banquet can be scrapped from the menu.

10. Refusing carbohydrates: I’m not anti low carb or against higher fat, if that’s your thing However, whatever your take, energy systems are a thing, and so is glycogen. You need to eat carbohydrates.

11. Never bending the rules: Sticking to something like a 90/10 approach to good eating versus not-so-healthy eating is a good way to keep sane amongst the noise of the world around you. A little chocolate here, a margarita there, just so long as it’s genuinely in moderation.

Will Lind
About Will Lind (168 Articles)
A minimalist runner that otherwise doesn't discriminate, Will Lind is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Functional Running. A true run lover, Will's passion encompasses the full spectrum of running and lies in the soul of the run. A Personal Trainer, Run Coach and romantic at heart, Will enjoys flipping from heartfelt run reflection to critical analysis on a whim.
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