How to fuel up for your winter run

January 04 2018

While many runners relish the chance to train in colder climates, there’s a lot to be considered when it comes to nutrition.

Even with some extra layers of running gear, the body burns through an increased amount of fuel in lower temperatures, making what you eat before and after each run that much more important.

Stay ready to move whatever the weather with our guide to winter running nutrition:

What should I eat before my run?

A reduced body temperature means our brown fats need to burn more carbohydrates to create heat. You’ll need to make sure your glycogen stores are well-stocked before you head outside.

Fruits and vegetables are an effective source of both vitamins and carbohydrates, so don’t be afraid to add an extra helping to smoothies, porridge or any other meals you have throughout the day.

As a supplement, isotonic gels are a fantastic source of quick-release carbs that can be consumed before, during and after your runs.

What should I eat to recover?

Once you’re back indoors, chances are you’ll need warming up.

Eating warm carbohydrates will increase your body temperature and restore energy sources burned during your run. Hot foods like rice, pasta and porridge tick all of the right boxes when it comes to recovering from exercising in the cold.

As with all workouts, protein is essential for rebuilding muscle. Fatty fish like salmon and other good protein/fat sources like nuts and tofu will help your body to repair and deliver the fats you need to properly absorb important vitamins and nutrients.

How should I hydrate?

Staying properly hydrated is always important, but this is especially true when running in winter. While the warm summer weather acts as a constant reminder to keep your fluids topped up, a low body temperature will have you feeling less thirsty, even when your body really needs water.

Remember that when you breathe in cold air, it becomes humidified by your body (this is why you can see your breath). With every exhale you lose more and more water, which you’ll need to replace regularly if you want to stay at peak performance.

Always make sure to drink plenty before and after your run, and take some water with you if you can.

Don’t let the cold keep you from training

Winter running really isn’t so bad. With the correct nutrition and equipment, you’ll be able to go the distance and barely even feel the cold.

If you’re still not keen on braving the elements, take a look at our winter treadmill training guide for tips on maintaining your cardio fitness at your local Fitness First gym.

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