Vitamin suggestions for runners: your questions, solutions


In high school, one of my teammates would win the Dorito Dust while he was still at his fingertips in every 400-meter race he entered. A college teammate traveled to the races with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon. A few years ago at the New York City Marathon, a group of friends saw shotgun beers on the starting line.

Many foods or beverages can be fed by athletes during a run. But after running for a certain number of weeks or years, each runner wants to re-evaluate some of his or her eating habits.

Maybe it’s because you want to do it faster, or because you want to optimize your recovery time, or because you often find your stomach sick during a workout.

Finding the right meals and snacks to feed your running and taking the time requires time and planning, said Amy Stephens, a dietitian for the Empire Elite Track Club team.

So this month, as part of our series of interviews with experts, we asked Stephens to answer some of our readers ’questions about post-run digestive issues, supply, and specific nutrients for runners.

Here are some of his tips.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

What is the real benefit of running and refueling within 30 minutes?

Think of providing it as part of your training plan. After a run, your muscles are prepared to absorb all the nutrients in your food. If you wait an hour or two, you will absorb the nutrients, but to a lesser extent.

Running and eating for 30 minutes will help your body recover faster and be stronger for the next run.

I encourage my athletes to pack or prepare food before they go out. Think of foods that are easy to prepare, such as oatmeal, peanut butter sandwich, nutrition bar, or yogurt with fruit.

In general, I recommend food first, but a smoothie or liquid supplement may be more convenient for some.

Does it help revitalize central fuels? And what foods do you recommend?

Central fuel is helpful in delaying muscle fatigue and can prevent a wall crash, but it doesn’t help stimulate. In a run or race, I use rooms and salt pills.

After a run, post-run meals can help revitalize by reducing inflammation. My favorite recommendations are cherry juice, beet juice, fresh strawberries, green tea and turmeric. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids — think fatty fish, chia, or flaxseed — are also helpful in reducing inflammation and preparing for the next race.

In terms of recovery, the best thing we can do is eat carbohydrates and protein every few hours. To maximize recovery, aim to have a ratio of four to one between carbohydrates and protein. Some of my favorite recovery foods are easy to prepare in advance, such as peanut butter and jelly, banana slices in yogurt, smoothie yogurt, or a nutrition bar.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen is eating high fat fried foods without proper carbohydrates. Fats need more time to absorb and do not provide enough carbohydrates to replace glycogen.

I usually pay close attention to protein and carbs after workouts. But are there any specific vitamins or supplements that runners need to pay attention to?

Some of the most overlooked supplements are electrolytes, which are essential for energy production and muscle contraction. We lose electrolytes through sweating or in very hot or cold climates. I recommend trying different electrolyte products to determine which one is right for you.

Magnesium can also help with exercise performance. Deficiencies are rare, but if you are concerned, talk to your doctor to test your magnesium levels. My favorite foods with magnesium are spinach, almonds, cashews, black beans and avocado.

In addition, B vitamins (B6, B12, B3) are beneficial for athletic performance. Vitamin B helps in red blood cell production, energy production, and muscle repair. Common food sources include dairy products, meat, eggs, seeds, fish, chickpeas and bananas. If you don’t eat these foods, you may want to take a B supplement.

Is there a reason for some runners to throw after a race, and is there a reason to avoid that?

Not only is vomiting normal, it can happen at any level from beginner to advanced.

Many of my professional athletes have reported vomiting at the end of a race, regardless of pre-event nutrition. Vomiting while running or at the end of a strenuous exertion is because the body works hard to supply the muscles with oxygen-rich blood and nutrients. In a strenuous effort, our working body prioritizes the blood supply to the muscles and diverts them from the intestines. During this time of exercise, it is difficult for the body to digest anything.

If you’re still uncomfortable throwing at the end of a race, here are some possible solutions that might help.

  • Keep in mind when eating: Feed time so the fuel is digested before your final push. Try eating at least 90 minutes before running out of fuel. This gives your body plenty of time to digest food. Everyone needs a different amount of carbohydrates; start 45 grams one hour before running with carbs and see how your body feels.

  • Talk to your doctor: If you have tried these nutritional strategies and still feel like vomiting, talk to your doctor about using antacids, Pepcid, or antiemetics.

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