Smart Food For Winners Did You Stick To Dry January? Everyone was talking about Dry January, Detoxing or Juicing and Smoothies at the start of the year. Many only stick to this for a few weeks, however, you know that nutrition is the fourth element of training. It can have such an effect on the outcome of a race. Are you wondering what’s the best food? If you plan to run some longer distance races this year you need to be thinking about what goes into your mouth NOW. You cannot wait until a week before the race. Since we talked about SMART goals, you now have a good idea when your first race will be. Nutrition can get complicated but it is pretty simple. Stop eating junk food. Stop drinking alcohol Stop the fizzy drinks Drink more water Eat more vegetables Sleep more (OK that’s not food I know) Remember the 80/20 rule? It’s from the Pareto principle where as a rule of thumb he said that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. Well follow those simple diet rules and boom – you just cleaned up your diet 80%. Easy right? Nutrition is all about giving the body the correct fuel to enable good recovery. Then you’ll grow stronger after each training session. If you make too many mistakes with your diet, you’ll undermine all the hard work you’ve been putting in. Goals Again! The goal here is to eat enough to keep your energy levels high. Avoid over-eating and leaving your body struggling to digest food. Exercise already puts the body under stress so help it along. It’s a tough balancing act, individual to everyone. Keep in mind that what works for your friend won’t work for you. It’s wise to rehearse your nutrition plans ahead of a race to find food combinations that suit you. One diet that many follow is the Paleo Diet For Athletes. There’s much, much more to this, but the incredibly simplistic version is this: Eat lots of fruit, nuts, eggs, meat and vegetables. Before and after races, focus on starchy fruit and vegetables (bananas, sweet potatoes or squash) in moderation. These will break down into glucose while replenishing your quick-use energy stores. If you need energy supplements throughout the race, use them as necessary. There are many books on this subject and so it is best to hit the Amazon bookstore and settle down for a little research hour – do it this weekend and start immediately. Dry January is over – but have you gone back to old habits or as you know it takes 21 days to form a habit ask yourself – “Am I on the road to a better race with a better body?” None of us need to be obsessive about our diet but in order to feel great and perform to our personal best it does seem sensible to think before you order that takeaway. Hope that got you all thinking!