Six Quick and Convenient Foods to Fuel Your Outdoor Runs

Second only to walking, running is indeed the most popular form of exercise worldwide. But, it’s also among the most intense. This holds especially true for outdoor running. Due to its intense nature, if you regularly run outdoors it’s important that you’re properly fueling your body with the right foods. Ideally, any foods you consume prior to and after running should contain vital nutrients that bolster your efforts by supporting maximum energy output, enhancing oxygen delivery to your muscles, and reducing overall fatigue within your muscles.

So, leaving aside the obvious like oatmeal and bananas, here I’ve compiled a quick list of six interesting foodstuffs that are among the most beneficial for outdoor runners.

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1. Coffee and Tea

Whether you regularly engage in high-speed sprinting or long-distance running, you can greatly improve the effectiveness of your runs by enjoying a cup of coffee or green tea an hour or so in advance. Believe it or not it’s true! In fact, due to their rich content of caffeine, phenols, and other micronutrients, sipping these drinks prior to running can temporarily improve your cardiovascular and muscular endurance in ways that substantially boost your energy levels and delay the onset of fatigue allowing you to run more intensely and for longer periods of time.

Related Article: Why You Should Drink at Least One Cup of Coffee Every Day

iL-MorsoPersonally, drinking a cup of coffee has become a pre-running ritual for me. In the absence of coffee, I simply throw a couple of il Morso coffee or green tea bars in my pocket for consumption, usually during longer runs lasting for more than 1-2 hours.

Housing just a single gram of sugar, these semi-sweet, melt-in-your-mouth treats are just as nutrient-dense as the beverages themselves and they are absolutely perfect for supplying your body with a quick burst of energy.

2. Leafy Green Vegetables

The-Complete-Leafy-Greens-CookbookLeafy green veggies are remarkably potent sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are especially critical for suppressing excess production of free radicals during running, particularly when long distances are covered. Free-radical build up in the body can impair healthy blood flow, reduce subsequent running performance, and, over time, weaken overall immune function.

Upping your daily intake of leafy green veggies is one of your best lines of defense against such potentially adverse effects.

You can find a wide range of easy-to-follow recipes incorporating antioxidant-rich leafy green veggies in The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook. Whether you prefer spinach, bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, kale or even wheatgrass juice, this book houses over 250 recipes that will surely suite your taste buds.

Related Article: Cruciferous Vegetables: Nature’s Secret Weapons to Fighting Cancer

3. Strained Yogurt

Strained (Greek-style) yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, which helps to regulate both the contraction and relaxation of muscles during outdoor running. Sufficient intake of calcium is also necessary for preventing overuse injuries to bones, muscles and joints, which all-too commonly occur after countless miles and hours of running.

Siggis-YogurtIn addition to calcium, strained yogurt is remarkably rich in high-quality protein making it that much more beneficial for maintaining bone, muscle and joint integrity in runners

Strained yogurt has been a longtime staple in my diet but I’ve been gradually transitioning from Greek-style varieties to Skyr. Skyr is typically a bit creamier than Greek yogurt and also contains less sugar, as it is strained over a relatively longer period of time.

One of my personal favorite brands is Siggi’s Icelandic-style skyr, which is available in nine deliciously versatile flavors.

Related Article: Why I’ve Swapped Out Greek Yogurt for Icelandic Skyr