Previously I touched on the importance of hydration, especially as we’re running full on into summer. Another equally important part of your routine to consider is nutrition.
While eating healthy is always good, that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about here. It’s more in relation to making sure what you eat is fueling the activity level you maintain.
Post workout isn’t just your recovery drink, but how you enable your body to continue through the day. Sometimes I am horrible at this, but I’m trying to get better. Worst thing, especially when you’re busy, is to not fuel yourself properly and end up crashing hard.
Try to always carry some kind of small snack with you and plan meals ahead of time. Spontaneous decisions are okay, but you’re more likely to make the effort to cook and eat if you already have everything planned out.
I keep a protein bar in whatever bag I have (gym, purse, etc) at all times just in case I get the munchies. I make a habit each week (or several times a week) to buy some veggies to chop up and snack on. My favorites are cucumber, green pepper, and tomatoes. I also visit the local farmer’s market that keeps a nice stock of nuts and trail mix items. Generally I go for raw almonds and dark chocolate covered espresso beans (cause I’m weird).
While I do NOT substitute any of these items for meals, I do use them to for snacking. Fueling myself in the hours between meals. If I have a smaller meal because I eat snacks, that’s fine. I’m still getting all the stuff I need.
It’s important to keep a regular schedule of consuming nutrients for the singular fact that you want them to feed your exercise and daily life. I don’t run or function nearly as well when I’m skipping meals or not eating properly.
Eating well not only helps keep your body in the right shape to exercise, but helps combat exhaustion and illness. Sometimes you can’t avoid them for many reasons, but maintaining your nutrition is a good way to give your body and yourself the upper hand.
I emphasize this topic because I’ve unfortunately felt the effects of bad fueling and nutrition while training. For the first few weeks of marathon training in 2011 my energy levels plummeted because not only was I not increasing my calorie intake to keep up with my increased exercise, but I wasn’t making sure it was the right things I needed to be eating. Once my eating schedule smoothed out and I was filling my vitamin and nutritional gaps, I had a better ability to handle my schedule of exercise and life.
I definitely advocate making healthier choices (and there’s so many ways to do it!) in your food, but make sure what and how you eat is set to help you be your best.