When do you think of the word runner or sprinter who comes to your mind? Of course, it’s none other than Usain Bolt. The retired Jamaican sprinter still holds the 100-meter dash world record, set in Berlin at the World Championships 2009.
So, what fuels him to achieve such an impressive record? Well, food is more than basic nutrition for runners. It’s what fuels them with the energy needed for long-distance runs or marathons, just as gasoline powers a car. And the right kind of food will help you run strong.
The wrong fuel will only slow you down or cause digestive distress. Note that a proper diet is the foundation of any athletic training program, which helps reduce the risk of injuries and improve performance. Without it, doing any intense athletic activity is impossible.
Please take a look at Usain Bolt’s diet plan to train like him.
The Fastest Man’s Meal Plan
Surprisingly, Usain Bolt loves to eat guilty pleasure food like pasta, corned beef, and breakfast sandwiches. According to stories, Usain even once ate 1,000 chicken nuggets during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
If you want to eat as Usain Bolt does, you may need to spend more time on the track or at the gym. Regardless of his sporadic indulgences, Usain Bolt’s diet consists primarily of the following:
Fats are essential for nerve function and part of a balanced diet. According to a review conducted in 2018, runners or swimmers don’t take enough fats in their diets. On the other hand, endurance athletes noticed an improvement in their performance when they took more healthy fats in their diet.
Healthy sources of polyunsaturated fats include walnuts, sunflower seeds, fatty fish, and soybean oils. Additionally, healthy sources of monounsaturated fats include avocados, nuts, olives, and canola oils.
This essential nutrient builds and repairs hardworking muscles, tissues, and bones. That’s why eating enough high-protein foods is crucial for muscle recovery after strength training for runners or when flu season comes back.
According to a study in 2017, runners had better endurance and experienced fewer injuries when they supplemented protein into their diets. So, after a run, it may be a good idea to consume a protein-rich meal or snack.
Moreover, protein also contributes to glycogen storage, which helps in muscle recovery. Excellent protein sources include eggs, soy products, lentils, peas, beans, fish rich in omega-3, and lean meats.
In a runner’s diet, carbohydrates are an important component because they are the most accessible form of energy in the body. Plus, they break down quickly during exercise. According to a 2008 study, runners consumed at least 50% to 70% of their calories from carbohydrates.
Plus, those who ran longer distances and trained at higher intensities needed more carbohydrates. Although most novice runners aren’t running longer distances than elites, they must still consume enough carbohydrates. Otherwise, it can cause injury, poor recovery, sluggish runs, and overtraining.
Healthy carbs sources include whole-grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole fruit. These sources also contain minerals, vitamins, and fiber, which help limit injuries and ease muscle soreness. But some people control their fiber intake to prevent gastrointestinal distress.
It could mean consuming a low-fiber meal before a long run. But the type and amount of carbohydrates a person’s gut can handle varies. Hence, runners might want to test out pre-run foods first to find out what works best for them.
The Importance of Timing Meals
Most runners find it hard to take the right nutrition before a marathon or workouts. They must strive to balance not eating foods that can cause stomach distress while consuming enough calories.
Also, runners should eat an easily digested snack or meal before a run. If they’re going for a long run, they might want to eat more carbs to make sure they have enough energy to finish the workout.
Before running, you should eat a small meal that contains the right amount of fiber and fat. The goal is to have a high amount of carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein.
Runners should consume at least 4 g of carbohydrates per kg of body mass several hours before a workout. One hour before running, you might want to fuel your energy stores with a carbohydrate-rich snack like yogurt.
Moreover, you might need to consume some nutrition during longer runs. In particular, something that contains both fluid and carbohydrates like sports drinks. Or you can bring energy chews or sports gels for your marathon carbohydrate intake.
These pre-packaged products are easy to digest and are specifically designed to be carried in a pocket or pouch.
Once you’ve completed your run, eating a nutritious meal for muscle recovery is important. But what a runner eats depends on how intense their workout was or how long they were running.
In general, consuming at least 1 g of carbs per kg of body mass immediately after an intense workout is essential.
What’s more, a post-workout meal should contain enough carbs to replace exhausted glycogen stores and protein to promote muscle repair. Also, don’t forget to drink lots of water to replace depleted fluids.
To Wrap Things Up
There is no single diet for every runner. It varies from person to person. However, it should include a balance of micronutrients, adequate carbohydrates, and macronutrients. Runners should focus on consuming nutritious food before running and eating protein- and carb-rich snacks after workouts to replenish their muscles. If you want to boost your running performance and improve your diet, it would be best to contact a registered dietitian and visit sites like BuzzRx.com to get discounted drugs.