Nutrition for running

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Nutrition for running

Postby jobriath » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:34 pm UTC

Hi everyone. I've just taken up running. After describing to a friend how much this shocked me, he mentioned a couple of supplements I should look into. I'm not fond of supplements and won't take any unless there is unanimous advice to do so, but it got me thinking about nutrition.

Given that my joints and tendons will now be ramping up to handle the extra work, is there anything in particular I should emphasise in my diet to help them along? I have what I think is a healthy diet consisting of meat a couple of times a week, pulses and veg the rest, and generally rice to serve as carbs. It might be that "healthy diet!" is sufficient, but I thought I'd double-check with trustworthy people. Typing "joint nutrition" into Google got me sites that, even if they were accurate, gave me zero confidence.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Fossa » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:28 am UTC

Hold off on any supplements for now. At best most are probably unnecessary. At worst they can do harm (even legitimate ones).

A good example? I know a lot of people who take MSM, Glucosamine, and/or chondroitin to give them "healthier joints". While these supplements do wonders for osteoarthritis, they can actually be detrimental to your connective tissue by disrupting healthy collagen formation. I know at least one person who developed tendinosis while on these supplements and his proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans were through the roof.

First off, what do you mean that running "shocked you"? Were you experiencing pain or discomfort? Please be specific.

In general a runner's diet should just be one that is generally healthy. Unless you're doing serious distance running you don't need to worry about things like carb loading, and even if you are it's too soon for you to be concerned. Before you can carb load your slow twitch muscles need to adapt to increase their mitochondria count and their glycogen storage capability, along with your liver's storage.

For connective tissue specifically, the only thing you need to be particularly careful of is your lysine intake. Lysine is an essential amino acid that's very important for collagen production. Of the three primary amino acids in your collagen it is the only essential amino acid. The other two the body can synthesize in a pinch.

Recommended dose of lysine is 12 mg per kg of body weight per day. It's commonly found in milk, eggs, chicken, beef, certain fish, and quite a few pulses as well. Usually 5-8% of the protein content in these foods is lysine.

Simplifying the math for you, you want to take your body weight in kilograms and multiply it by 0.24. That's how many grams of protein you want, each day, from these foods. Full list can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysine#Dietary_sources
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby jobriath » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:19 am UTC

Fossa wrote:First off, what do you mean that running "shocked you"? Were you experiencing pain or discomfort? Please be specific.

Emotionally. After thinking of myself as an unsporty person till three years ago, suddenly I find myself doing BJJ, rock climbing, and now running of all things. Sorry for the ambiguity.

Fossa wrote:In general a runner's diet should just be one that is generally healthy. Unless you're doing serious distance running you don't need to worry about things like carb loading, and even if you are it's too soon for you to be concerned. Before you can carb load your slow twitch muscles need to adapt to increase their mitochondria count and their glycogen storage capability, along with your liver's storage.
...
Simplifying the math for you, you want to take your body weight in kilograms and multiply it by 0.24. That's how many grams of protein you want, each day, from these foods. Full list can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysine#Dietary_sources

This is exactly the response I hoped for. I think I'm well within parameters. Thanks for sharing the benefit of your experience!
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby shocklocks » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

Why on earth do you think only eating meat twice a week is healthy?
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby jobriath » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

I have another question. Should one run hungry? I go running before dinner and last time I ran (3mi/5km) I felt like I was running out of steam half-way through. Coincidence? To be expected? Or should I snack before running? Apologies for vagueness of questions---I really am new to this :)

shocklocks wrote:Why on earth do you think only eating meat twice a week is healthy?

With the protein slack taken up by other foodstuffs, why would it not be? There are healthy diets with meat every meal and healthy diets completely without. Did you think I meant to imply that meat twice a week is the one true way? I didn't---I just figured this dietary foible was nonstandard enough to be important info for anyone who wanted to answer my question.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Fossa » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

Shock, "meat" intake is irrelevant. It's protein intake that matters, both quantity and quality. Jo's listed diet includes both high quality and complimentary proteins (no missing, essential amino acids) which is what counts, provided Jo is getting enough of them which I believe is the case.

Jo, as to your question, "running on empty" is usually a bad idea. While it does encourage fat burning metabolic pathways, it also tends to screw up your insulin balance. This means the next time you do eat you get a large insulin dump which actually encourages weight gain. Basically you end up training your body to be prepared for "feast and famine" cycles, which means making lots of fat whenever it can. On top of that, it's still a stress on the system since lacking calories also means you're nutrient deficient.

Now, obviously you don't want to eat immediately before running, but you should try to slightly increase your caloric intake earlier in the day to compensate. The key phrase here is slightly. A lot of people overcompensate before and/or after a workout with predictable results (weight gain).

I know weight loss isn't a goal of yours, but weight management should be. You're transforming your body in a fantastic direction and it is important to make sure it doesn't slide in any unintended directions while this happens. If nothing else proper maintenance will makes running that much easier and more fun as you progress.

Best of luck.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby savanik » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

jobriath wrote:Given that my joints and tendons will now be ramping up to handle the extra work, is there anything in particular I should emphasise in my diet to help them along?


Water. :D

I used to run a LOT and was 135 pounds. Now I'm 200 (down from 220!) so I'm quite a bit heavier. When I started running again recently I found out that my tendons and bones in my feet were not up to the task with my increased weight.

Start slow, pay attention to how you feel. If you have pain in your ankle tendons or metatarsals, LAY OFF. It takes a week or two to recover from a strain. It takes months to recover from a bone you broke because you kept running on a weakened foot.

You may also find improving foot/ankle/leg strength helpful.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby shocklocks » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:28 am UTC

With the protein slack taken up by other foodstuffs, why would it not be? There are healthy diets with meat every meal and healthy diets completely without.


Well because the diet you mentioned doesn't really include many protein sources, bar lentils. Which you'd need to be eating ALOT of(600+ grams at a minimum. A kg worth for a reasonable amount.) There are healthy-ish diets without meat and healthier diets with meat. I asked because I don't understand why some one would only eat meat twice a week. If you're a vegetarian or a vegan(god forbid) or what ever then I could understand why you wouldn't. You obviously eat meat however so I'm confused why you'd only eat it twice a week.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Ulc » Fri Nov 18, 2011 8:07 am UTC

shocklocks wrote:There are healthy-ish diets without meat and healthier diets with meat.


Stop right there. It is not inherently healthier to eat meat - it makes it slightly easier to put together a varied enough diet. But the amount of meat eaten by western society is far, far higher than necessary, or even good for us. Lentils are a excellent source of protein, with 26 grams of protein per 100g (dryweight), as are all other legumes.

If you're not doing heavy strength training you probably don't need more than ½ g of protein per kg. bodyweight - which means that if you eat 100 grams of [insert legume of choice here] per day, with occasional meat and a varied diet you're doing perfectly fine, dairy is another excellent source of protein, soybean, nuts, eggs and seeds deserve mention as well.

As for not eating huge amounts of meat? There is lots of reasons for that, among those that at least in my opinion that unless I spend a lot of money on good quality meat, it's simply not as tasty as making the same dish a bit more creatively with vegetables.

Edit: I should probably emphasize that the above reason is my personal reason, but there is lots of others - humanitarian issues is another.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby shocklocks » Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:47 am UTC

Those are some super protein packed lentils you have there. Also .5g per kg? An 80kg individual needs 40g of protein if he isn't a hard out weight lifter? That's just plain wrong. Like to the point where you're risking protein deficiency.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Ulc » Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:53 pm UTC

shocklocks wrote:Those are some super protein packed lentils you have there. Also .5g per kg? An 80kg individual needs 40g of protein if he isn't a hard out weight lifter? That's just plain wrong. Like to the point where you're risking protein deficiency.


That's the lentils standing in my cupboard. The beans are a bit lower at 22g per 100g dryweight. Keep in mind though, this is dry weight, which is a fair bit lower than the weight you'd actually eat them at.

As for the amount of protein in the diet, yeah, that should have been per pound - more exactly, the figure are 0.8 g of protein per kg bodyweight, so said 80 kg. person needs just around 65 grams of protein. That is rather easy to get without eating meat, a couple of glasses of milk, perhaps a egg or two, different kinds of leafy greens, legumes of different kinds and you're there.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Nath » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:03 am UTC

Ulc wrote:As for the amount of protein in the diet, yeah, that should have been per pound - more exactly, the figure are 0.8 g of protein per kg bodyweight, so said 80 kg. person needs just around 65 grams of protein. That is rather easy to get without eating meat, a couple of glasses of milk, perhaps a egg or two, different kinds of leafy greens, legumes of different kinds and you're there.

Two glasses of milk: 16g
Two eggs: 12g
Three servings of spinach (270g, cooked): 8g
Three servings of lentils (300g, cooked): 27g

Total: 63g

For an active 80kg person, this is on the low side. Yes, with proper planning it's possible to get a decent amount of protein on a vegetarian diet, but it won't happen without conscious effort.
Last edited by Nath on Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:39 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nutrition for running

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:22 am UTC

Personally, I rather enjoy a cold beer in the after workout shower. I prefer running on an empty stomach, but will optimally try to have eaten something with protein in it 3-4 hours before. I try to avoid heavy meals the night before, but frankly, am pretty shitty at planning that. Running workouts the day after Indian food means I'm going to be slow.

Light and healthy. Generally speaking, you want to drop a bit of a weight, as the only muscles that matter for distance are your core and your legs.
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