With the running season now upon us, accredited sports nutritionist, dietitian and Saucony Australia spokesperson, Pip Taylor, has stopped by to share her insights in nutritional preparation for a long distance run, as well as how applying the concept of mindful eating can help runners reach their PB.
What’s the best way to prepare yourself nutritionally before a big race?
When preparing for a marathon, half-marathon or other long distance run, it is vital to consider the foods you are consuming before and during the training period.
Mindful eating is a concept that echoes aspects of life to encourage self-reflection and self-awareness. This concept promotes greater food freedom, less strict eating rules that are often wrapped with guilt and the notion of foods from a positive or negative outlook, in conjunction with the counting of calories.
It is extremely important to see food as a contributor to your overall wellbeing regarding its effects and how they make you feel. For example, the impact of a sugar filled donut in comparison to a leafy green salad is vastly identifiable. How the sugar-filled donut will affect energy levels and your mood in the long-run, will in turn impact your health.
Being mindful asks that you listen to hunger cues and can effectively distinguish hunger from boredom and stress. Distractions such as eating at your work desk or in front of the TV are not encouraged when being mindful about what you’re eating.
Watch out for “runner’s guts” (the feeling of urgency that hits during exercise) by avoiding the major culprits – fructose, lactose and caffeine. Too much fat and fibre can also rush your gut. If your body is vibrating too much when you are running, this can also cause you to shake your gut, so be sure to choose a good quality running shoe made specifically for runners!
Prior to the race, the mindful approach helps determine when it is necessary to override hunger and meet fuelling or recovery priorities. By recognising cues for overeating or underrating you are developing a healthy relationship with what you are putting into your body.
Mindful eating encourages learning on how to be critical and analytical of external marketing messages on nutrition and fuelling that can lead to uncertainty, doubt and confusion. Overall mindful eating helps balance nutritional requirements for training with an overall satisfaction and enjoyment for food!
Being deliberate and mindful about food and eating allows for a greater consciousness and awareness allowing you to excel in your training and ultimately improve performance.
Her sporting career spans over 15 years and includes multiple appearances at World Championships representing Australia, multiple World Cup and 70.3 wins, and podium places and victories in other major international triathlon races.
In 2015, Pip published her first book, The Athlete’s Fix: a program for finding your best foods for health and performance. Pip has contributed to countless international publications and websites and provided nutrition communications and consult to companies within the nutrition, health and fitness industries.