Nutrition for Endurance Athletes Part 2

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Hello again runners! It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked about nutrition in the first of this two-part blog (read part 1 by clicking here). So…how are you doing? What item did you pick to improve on? Have you implemented it? How’s it going?

I certainly hope you’re making good progress on the first dietary change you’re attempting to implement. We can define good progress as being able to implement that change on a daily basis, with a moderate level of thought and discipline. Great progress, however, is being able to implement that change on a daily basis, with little to no thought. That’s called a habit, and once a habit is formed relative to this dietary change, you’re ready to move onto the next change.

Before I provide you some suggestions on areas to focus on, I do want to take a step back and acknowledge two things. First, if you’ve successfully implemented your change – congrats! It’s hard to form good dietary habits. Second, if you haven’t successfully implemented your change – that’s okay!! It’s a great learning experience. Maybe the change was too big, too soon. Maybe the change didn’t make a big enough impact to keep you motivated. Maybe the past week was particularly crazy. Whatever it was, this is very common when attempting to form new dietary habits.

Below are some suggestions of great areas to either focus on if you’re struggling getting started, or to progress to, after you’ve formed your first habits:

  • Drink 64oz of water per day: I know this seems too simple, but drinking water is a great confidence builder and a gateway to other dietary change.
  • Take a multivitamin: none of us eat enough whole non-processed foods to get all the vitamins/mineral we need. A multivitamin is a great insurance policy against an imperfect diet.
  • Eliminate one unhealthy food item: garbage in, garbage out, as they say. Getting rid of even one unhealthy food item can improve performance and recovery.
  • Add more protein: even endurance athletes need protein (about 1 gram per pound of body weight). Adding an extra serving of protein per day can aid in recovery from runs as well as performance improvements.
  • Add in more fruit and veggies: As I mentioned earlier, we don’t get enough vitamins/minerals due to diets low in unprocessed foods. Adding a serving of fruit and/or veggies every day can give you much needed vitamins and minerals for recovery and performance. Remember, healthy person first, healthy athlete second.

I realize all these changes seem too simple to have a meaningful effect on your performance. However, the truth is doing any one of these things can make a difference. Better yet, picking one thing, locking it in as a habit, and then picking the next thing and make it a habit (and so on), can result in dramatic changes in your diet, performance, and body composition.

If you follow this approach you’ll be able to build several key dietary habits one at a time without stressing yourself out. Everything I mentioned above takes around 10-15 weeks to implement (could be more, could be less) don’t rush – you’re worth time!

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