This month, as the running season has arrived, I’ve teamed up with Italian restaurant chain Vapiano to support their #EatPastaRunFaster campaign.
As part of the campaign, I’ve created two new diet plans designed for runners using some of their pasta dishes.
If you’re training for a big run at the moment, take a look at the diet plans below, so you can try it too!
Five day nutritionally balanced plan for regular runners (5-10k distances)
People who run moderate distances on a regular basis need a nutritionally balanced diet to help them perform at their best, maintain a healthy weight and keep themselves feeling fit and energised. The right diet also helps to boost the immune system, warding off colds and infections and reduces the risk of niggling injuries.
This means a diet that provides just the right amount of carbohydrate – too little can affect energy levels and leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish, but too much can result in unwanted weight gain. The body stores small amounts of carbohydrate as glycogen in the liver and muscles. By eating regular amounts of carbohydrate foods such as pasta you can build up stores ready to be used for a run and replenish them in readiness for your next run. When the distances are around 10k it is less important to consider timings of when you eat in relation to your run as you are unlikely to run out of glycogen. Just including carbohydrate foods such as pasta and rice on a regular basis will ensure stores are topped up.
It’s important to balance your carbohydrate intake with plenty of protein and healthy fast which is why we have teamed these delicious pasta dishes for Vapiano with protein and veg packed breakfasts, soups and salads and lighter evening meals.
Three day carb loading plan for pre-race long distance runs
If you are training for a longer distance race like a half or full marathon, you will need to maximise your glycogen stores by eating plenty of carbohydrate foods 2-3 days before the big day. Running out of glycogen during your race will make you feel fatigued and cause your pace to slow. This effect is called ‘hitting the wall’ and you will feel as though you have completely run out of energy. As glycogen stores are turned over continually it is important to make sure that every meals contains a substantial amount of carbohydrate in the run up to the race. And be aware that on race day itself you may be feeling too nervous to eat a big breakfast. Don’t worry if all you can manage is a cup of tea and banana, just make sure that 2-3 day beforehand you have been eating really well.
Pasta Bolognese – delivers plenty of carbohydrate to build stores of glycogen in the liver and muscles. The beef provides high quality protein needed for muscle strength and repair. It is also a good source of easily absorbed iron needed for the transportation of oxygen in red blood cells. The tomatoes deliver beta carotene needed to protect cells from oxidative damage (increased in runners) and boost immunity.
Pasta pomodoro – tops up carbohydrate (glycogen) stores. The meal eaten the night before is crucial in delivering the last top up of glycogen to help avoid ‘hitting the wall’. Needs to be a safe easily digested meal that won’t cause any digestive problems or stomach upsets on any already nervous stomach.
Rucola ravioli (recovery meal)– glycogen stores will be depleted so carbohydrate from pasta is important to help muscles recover. There is plenty of whey protein from the ricotta which delivers special amino acids that are effective in helping to repair the muscles and prevent muscle soreness.