Sports Science Basics for Runners
By Dr. David Cosman in Hong Kong
A healthy balanced diet requires planning and dedication. What you eat and drink during training should be the same or similar to what you would consume in preparation for a hard training day or for a race. Topping up with extras on race-day can shock your body and can throw off internal balance; this can include but not be limited to circulatory and digestive system problems that result in DNF.
I am an advocate of eating healthy oils. Good oils will fuel every cell in your body, making the cells active and metabolic. This means that they will consume oxygen, and that is what our active and healthy cells do, especially during activity.
Good oils can be broken down to provide fast and efficient energy - they are broken down faster and more efficiently than trying to break down stored fat that comes from bad fats and oils or from carbo-loading after glycogen levels are topped up.
Oil from flax seeds, fish, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, certain nuts, and krill can help your energy levels and your health in general. At the same time, healthy oils need healthy sulfur rich proteins and antioxidants to work effectively.
Antioxidants are healthy natural compounds that preserve the all-important oil/protein components in your cells. Use moderation even with healthy stuff!
Regarding hydration, caffeine drinks and alcohol must be limited to prevent dehydrating cramps. Hydrate by drinking mineral water, but beware, as some water assumed to have minerals might not. Water that is labeled “mineralized” is suspect and might be mineralized with useless minerals, so check the label.
The minerals that can best prevent muscle spasm or cramping are magnesium with calcium. Together they are known as CalMag. Your water or supplements should have some CalMag.
Magnesium and calcium are found in many foods including the chick pea – also known as the garbanzo bean, the main ingredient in hummus. But can you handle the beans? Garbanzos are not so bad in the gas department.
Eating hummus with healthy oil and corn tortillas is an excellent snack or meal for runners who can take beans. Corn tortillas are made with lime-infused corn flour called masa harina. Masa harina is an excellent source of carbs and minerals that can prevent muscle cramping.
Foods that metabolize into alkaline (non-acidic) pH levels are highly recommended for overall and performance health.
The benefit of good nutrition is a huge topic. Some take it very seriously, while others are missing the goodness that is out there.