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Nutrional Guidelines

Distance Running Nutrition Guidelines

It is important to listen to your body.  Ask your family and family doctor if you have questions with these or any nutrition guidelines.


Low energy can mean an athlete needs more rest or more carbohydrates.  It can also indicate that an athlete is low in Iron or Zinc.


Iron tests should test levels for three components (you will have to ask to get all three components from your health provider):

Hemaglobin:                girls 12-16                   boys 14-18

Hematocrit:                 girls 42% - 46%           boys 45%-54%

Serum Ferritin:            girls 25 or higher         boys 25 or higher

Any figures lower than these minimums indicate low iron for athletes.


Here are some guidelines for eating habits during a season:

Avoid a high protein diet, it will require five days to recover from a workout or distance race.

In season:

3-5 grams of Carbohydrates per pound of the persons weight. (300-500 grams/100 pounds)

How Much protein per day: 1/2 - 1 gram per pound of body weight. (50-100 grams/100 pounds)

Vitamin E: 100-400 i.u. per day.  Found in nuts and sunflower seeds.

3-4 servings of calcium daily or fortified orange juice.


Breakfast recommendation: (Eat breakfast everyday)

55-65 percent Carbohydrate calories

30-25 percent Fat calories  

15-10 percent protein calories


Replace Carbs each day: 

Yogurt, cereal and milk, Bagel, Beans, Whole wheat, and potatoes.  Glycogen energy is stored and is the first to burn.


Iron and Calcium foods: raisins, tuna, chicken, beef.  Absorption of iron is increased when eaten or taken with vitamin C.  Milk will decrease the absorption of iron.


The bad fat is saturated and trans fats.


As far as glycogen goes, Gatorade (G-2) and real fruit juice are great ways to replenish what the body needs after a workout.  I do not recommend the low calorie sports drinks because they contain aspartame.


The body needs sodium.  A sport drink will have the levels necessary for recovery and is recommended after workouts and competition.


Water is also very important to performing at your best.  A gallon of water per day is not uncommon for distance runners.