Once you start running or jogging, your body will need extra fuel for those miles; you will be burning roughly an extra 100 calories for each mile you run.

Additionally, your muscles will need protein to keep them operating efficiently.

Here is a quick guide of the foods you should be eating as a new runner.

Complex carbohydrates provide slow and steady fuel. Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and starchy vegetables contain fiber, which helps to control sharp blood sugar spikes and lows, which can leave you feeling depleted before the end of your run.

Protein is essential for both tendon and muscle repair. The more often you run and the farther distance you cover, the more repair work there will be for your muscles. Your protein should be high quality and lean, such as chicken, lean beef, pork, eggs, nuts and fish.

Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, flax seed oil, canola oil and avocados are the healthiest fats to consume. Monounsaturated fats have been linked to a decrease in heart disease and stroke.

It is healthier for a runner to obtain fat calories from these fats and oils than from unhealthy options such as lard or deep-fried foods.

Water consumption is essential for everyone, but even more so for the runner who is going to sweat more than average.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least two liters, or eight cups, per day. Sugar-free water enhancers, sports drinks and fruit juices, can be counted as fluids, but be warned caffeine and alcoholic beverages do not count, as these will dehydrate you.

Water should be consumed evenly throughout the day to keep fluid levels up and your body evenly hydrated. Most runners tend to be dehydrated.

Vitamins and minerals play an important factor in your running performance and endurance. Your extra energy requirements will also mean you will need extra vitamins and minerals.

Ideally, these should be provided from a healthy and well balanced diet of fresh and whole foods. A basic multivitamin can be used to bridge the gap between daily intake and requirements.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at carey.stites@smchh.org.

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