October 20, 2014

Run26 » Nutrition for Performance - 3:06 pm

Nutrition is one of the most overlooked aspects of running and is often very confusing since there is so much conflicting information out there. Seems like everyone has a secret diet for performance but in reality it’s getting back to nutrition basics that yield the best results.

When I work on nutrition with runners, the first thing I have them do is to get checked for food allergies. Having food allergies myself I know firsthand how big a difference avoiding certain foods plays in recovery and health. We are fortunate to have a great Naturopath Dr. Rhian Young with Purity Integrative Health, www.purityintegrativehealth.com, in the Mill Creek Town Center who can test for food allergies with a simple and inexpensive blood test. This test will give you a detailed report on your allergy sensitivity to certain foods.

When it comes to nutrition the goal is to keep your blood at an optimum pH level. Your blood’s ideal pH level is 7.4, slightly alkaline. Anything below 7.0 is considerably more acidic and breeds illness, causes inflammation and weight gain.  When you train you add stress to the body that pushes the pH levels more towards an acidic state, when we recover properly our pH levels return to a normal balance. Many things can cause stress and throw off the pH balance. Stress at work and home, the acidic environment we live in, lack of sleep, poor diet and lack of or too much exercise. Yup, too much exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, can cause an adverse reaction and create a more acidic pH level. It’s always a balancing act when it comes to training between stress and recovery.

What does all this have to do with nutrition? Will there are many foods that are high in alkaline and can help get your pH levels back to normal much quicker, and there are foods high in acids that cause pH issues. Most fruits and vegetables are high in alkaline because of their high water and nutrient content, with green leafy vegetables and melon fruits being some of the highest. A good rule of thumb is that most whole foods tend towards alkaline will the more processed foods are more acidic. You can go to the Livestrong foundation website at www.livestrong.com for more information on the alkaline food charts. When training, try to avoid high acidic foods such as sodas, deep-fried food, foods high in sugar and corn syrups, and try to consume alcohol and coffee in moderation. On days where the training is more intense it becomes more important to eat higher alkaline foods and avoid acidic foods.

Nutrition is one of the most important contributing factors in recovery. Bottom line, the quicker and more thorough you recover from training stress the better you will perform.  If you are interested in learning more about nutrition and training Run 26 will be hosting a training clinic on Saturday November 22nd at 9am.  It is absolutely free and will be followed up by an easy group run.  You can find more information by following the link under events on our webpage or going to the Run 26 Facebook group page.


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