Basics of nutrition in a runner's diet, fluids

Basics of nutrition in a runner's diet - part 1, fluids

The key issue in a running adventure/career is the training itself. This is the basis for development and trying to improve your sports level. However, without proper regeneration it will be difficult to get to the place where an ambitious athlete would like to be. This regeneration includes a properly arranged training plan, sleep, biological regeneration, but also nutritional regeneration.

Well-balanced meals, supported by reasonable supplementation, can significantly influence your sports development. Therefore, in this article I will discuss the general nutritional recommendations in a runner’s diet, which may contribute to the better functioning of the body, and which in the long run may result in better well-being and improved results.

In this section, I will mainly focus on strategies related to hydration and fluid intake. The next article will contain more information related to solid nutrition.

1. Remember to maintain an appropriate energy balance, which will translate into proper regeneration, reconstruction of damaged tissues and development (especially important in young athletes).

2. Pay attention to the appropriate amount of carbohydrates in your diet (periodization depending on the training period). Carbohydrate loading is crucial before long distance races, from half marathons to ultra runs.

3. Try to match your meals to your lifestyle (training, work) as much as possible. Thanks to this, you will improve the effectiveness of your body’s regeneration, as well as the reconstruction and protection of muscle glycogen.

4. Adjust the amount of protein consumed to the number of training sessions performed and their intensity. Adequate supply will improve the process of regeneration and reconstruction of muscle tissue, thus reducing the risk of injuries and, above all, preventing malnutrition. In addition, we will improve the functioning of the immune system. You should be aware that too much protein may have a negative impact on the functioning of the liver and kidneys (that is why you need to select the protein supply individually, theory does not always go hand in hand with practice).

5. Consume healthy fats:

– add linseed oil or olive oil to vegetable salads,

– include more fish in your diet (including due to omega-3 fatty acids),

– don’t forget about the great product that is avocado,

– remember about nuts.

6. Adequate hydration (before, after and during training).

Water (fluid) consumption and high temperature

  1. drink about 2 liters of water or 30-40 ml/kg body weight,
  2. add pieces of fruit, mint leaves to the water,
  3. support hydration with juices from freshly squeezed fruit and/or vegetables,
  4. it is also worth reaching for isotonic drinks or fluids with added electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium),
  5. remember that water affects the body’s thermal management (removing excess heat with sweat),
  6. be careful with drinks that are too sweet (impaired absorption),
  7. be careful with drinks that are too cold, which may negatively affect the throat and upper respiratory tract,
  8. avoid alcohol, strong coffee and tea!
  9. dehydration is a burden on the nervous and circulatory systems,
  10. dehydration may cause heat stroke, overheating of the body and reduced physical performance,
  11. do not wait for the first symptoms of dehydration, drink water regularly in small amounts. Too much fluid burdens the kidneys and circulatory system,
  12. In addition to the temperature itself, physical exercise, gender, age, illnesses and diarrhea may have an impact on increased fluid intake.

The importance of minerals contained, among others: in “isotonics”

  1. significant impact on metabolism and physiological functions,
  2. take part in muscle contraction,
  3. take part in the conduction of nerve impulses,
  4. take part in blood clotting, hormone secretion,
  5. sodium – an important role in the management of body fluids, the functioning of the nervous system, muscle function and maintaining acid-base balance,
  6. magnesium plays an important role in muscle contraction and glucose metabolism,
  7. large doses of potassium can prevent hypertension (easily obtained from the diet), a sports lifestyle increases the need.

Techniques to increase fluid stores before training provide similar performance benefits to strategies that maximize the amount of glycogen in muscles and liver. Drinking during exercise is more important than drinking before training.

Avoid training when dehydrated. Go into your training session as hydrated as possible. (!)

Recommendations for preparing for training the next day

  1. 500ml before bedtime,
  2. morning portion of fluids 500-700ml,
  3. time before training every hour 200-300ml,
  4. about an hour before training 500-1000 ml (drinks with carbohydrates and sodium, isotonic drinks will work well),
  5. 250-500 20 minutes before training.

Drinking during training – benefits

  1. delays and minimizes dehydration,
  2. maintains appropriate blood glucose levels,
  3. prevents glycogen depletion in muscles and liver,
  4. provides fuel for the brain,
  5. prevents the loss of electrolytes, especially sodium.

Additional important information regarding fluid intake and hydration

  1. Fluid loss with sweat is about 0.5-1.5 liters per hour, on hot days in athletes up to 2 liters (disorders: increase in heart rate, muscle weakness, dizziness, fatigue, dark urine, increased body temperature, decreased heart function). , concentration disorders, digestive system disorders, overheating, heat stroke). The more dehydrated an athlete is, the slower the stomach empties.
  2. Sports drink (popular isotonic drinks) -> carbohydrate concentration 6-8% -> leaves the stomach the fastest -> enters the bloodstream almost like water, but additionally provides carbohydrates -> good tolerance by the body.
  3. You should aim to drink about 600 ml of fluids per hour.
  4. The best mixture of carbohydrates in sports drinks is glucose with fructose -> absorption 1.5g per minute.
  5. Colder fluids leave the stomach faster than warmer ones.
  6. Drink fluids in the amount of 125-250 ml every 15-20 minutes.
  7. 30g of carbohydrates per hour translates into a measurable increase in performance. During high-intensity exercises, you can increase this amount to 50-60g (it all depends on individual tolerance). With effort over 2.5 hours you can consume up to 90g of carbohydrates per hour.
  8. Sodium is an important element for people who have cases of hyponatremia and muscle cramps!Cramps may be the cause of a deficiency of this element. Just as “normal” people have to be careful about their high sodium intake, athletes lose a lot of it through sweat. Hyponatremia may appear after competitions (ultra, marathons – more often in women). Excessive fluid intake (plain water) during competition may also have an impact. “Slower” runners are also at risk due to the possibility of consuming more fluids due to the longer running time (the solution on the route is isotonic drinks and electrolyte tablets – drink plenty of water).


  1. Drink 125-250 ml within 15-20 minutes.
  2. Check your sweat intensity and adjust your drinking strategy for your next workout.
  3. Within an hour before training, drink about 500-600 ml.
  4. Avoid making up for water loss (don’t drink too quickly, preferably in small sips).
  5. Consume proven drinks and test any new products during training.
  6. Drink fluids during training sessions lasting longer than 60 minutes, it is not necessary during shorter training sessions.
  7. Carbohydrate intake – 30-60g per hour, depending on intensity. Over 2 hours 60-90g.
  8. Remember that the rate of sweating varies depending on the season, weather conditions and intensity of exercise.
  9. It is worth learning to consume fluids during exercise (nutritional training), due to the different response of the body to a specific quantitative supply of fluids.
  10. Sodium may increase the effectiveness of hydration processes.

All issues raised, when used in practice, should contribute to maximizing the body’s regeneration and reconstruction processes, as well as improve the functioning of the body during physical exercise, contributing to improved results.

Do you have any questions? Text me!

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