Runner Beans

"Beans, beans, good for your heart,
 The more you eat the more you  [any guesses?]"

Beans are not only packed with great nutrients that all runners need, they have other benefits too (and I don't mean the green variety, despite the title of this post).  Cannelini, borlotti, kidney, haricot etc are are all great alternative source of protein and a fair bit cheaper than fresh fish or meat.  They release carbs slowly and are full of fibre - great for, er, keeping you regular! It is also been shown that regular consumption of beans can lower cholesterol and even reduce cancer risk due to their phytonutrients.

Try replacing favourites with beany alternatives, such as mixed bean chilli or bean burger in lieu of meat.  And don;t forget good old beans on toast, but to keep it healthy choose a tin of the reduced sugar & salt variety and use wholemeal/whole grain toast.  Spice it up with your fave condiment, eg tabasco, harissa, and you've got yourself a quick, tasty and healthy meal.

And the answer to the rhyme?  It's "are smart" of course.

Cool Runnings

 If you go for a run in the sun already dehydrated (e.g. after a night on the razz) you'll end up with a headache and feeling very hot and thirsty - not great to get the best from your run. In severe cases you could end up with heat exhaustion. So, on days that you plan to run, obey your thirst throughout the day - i.e. drink as soon as you feel thirsty; the longer you leave it the longer it will take to replenish lost moisture. 

For longer runs (i.e. over a hour or so) it is worth considering taking some fluid with you so you can minimise the dehydrating effect of heat and increased sweating as you go.  For endurance training, sports drink is worth considering as it also has trace elements called electrolytes, which are lost from the body through sweating. Electrolyte deficiency symptoms are similar to dehydration, but can result in muscle cramp, light-headedness and nausea.

The type of clothing you wear can also have an impact on how hot you are during a run.  Synthetic 'technical' fabrics are much better at keeping you cool, as they are designed to be breathable, lightweight and to wick sweat away from your skin; avoid cotton t-shirts as they will just get wet, hot, heavy and uncomfortable.

Keeping cool in the hot weather can be hard anyway, and running (or indeed any exercise) increases our need for fluids. 


Spice Up Your Life!

Spices are an easy way to add flavour to food and are actually good for you. Not only are they are rich in the free-radical fighters antioxidants but they taste good too. The short list below is nowhere near complete so do your own research. So put away the salt cellar and spice up your meals:

Turmeric – Contains curcumin which scientists believe help counteract post-exercise muscle soreness. TRY THIS – chuck some in rice while cooking, or rub onto meat or fish before grilling
Chilli – Contains the phytochemical capsaicin which is linked to a host of health benefits including reduction of pain from osteoarthritis, improved lung function, and even raises metabolism!  TRY THIS – sprinkle some into pasta sauce, soups, marinades, etc
Cinnamon – this sweet spice has been linked to the relief of digestive disorders and end even to counteract high blood sugar levels.  TRY THIS – add a teaspoon to your porridge while it’s cooking, or sprinkle liberally over sweet potato wedges before roasting.
Ginger – The anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties of ginger mean that it’s great for post-run recovery, reducing joint pain and soreness.  TRY THIS – add some to rhubarb to make a zingy crumble


The Best Hangover Cure

Well, 'tis the season to be jolly, so be prepared and make sure you have the ingredients available to get your stomach and head back on-track after a night out.   Check out this rehydrating drink from Channel 4's The Food Hospital.  This does the same as over-the-counter remdies at a fraction of the cost:

½ a lemon, a good pinch of sea salt, a good teaspoon of honey or maple syrup
Boil your kettle and allow it to cool a little. Get a large glass.  Squeeze in the juice of the lemon and add the salt and honey, add a splash of hot water from the kettle, (make sure it’s not too hot or it might break your glass) and mix until the salt and honey are dissolved, top up with cold water and drink immediately.

Also, try a fruit smoothie, followed by a grilled bacon sarnie or scrambled eggs on brown toast. This will give you essential vitamins and nutrients back in your system.   But of course the best hangover cure is.......not to drink more than your body can cope with in the first place (yes, oh sooo boring).

What to Eat Before a Run

At some point we've all turned up at the club for the run not having eaten anything since lunchtime and hardly make it through the warm up without feeling drained of energy. You even hear some people say "I can't eat before a run", and the truth is you shouldn't. Well,not directly before a run - the optimal time is 1-2 hours before.  This will ensure your muscles are fuelled up but your stomach is empty.  So, what to eat? Experts reckon a light snack consisting of carbs and proteins and low on fat is best.  So tuck into a turkey sarnie, fruit and yoghurt, bagel with peanut butter, etc.  Don't have anything too packed full of fibre as this is harder to digest and can lead to gastro-intestinal problems whilst out on the run (i.e. guts-ache, runners trots, stitch, etc).  Try experimenting with different foods at different times to find out what works best for you.

Good news for Chocaholics!

To get the best results from your training and race recovery, ensure that your nutrition afterwards is up to par.The body needs amino acids to repair muscle tissue and carbohydrates to restore muscle glycogen.One of the best recovery options is to drink chocolate milk within 20 minutes when the muscles are most receptive to refuelling.Most prepared chocolate milk drinks are made with 1% or 2% milk, but you could also create your own fat-free chocolate milk by adding some chocolate syrup to skimmed milk. This will provide you with the benefits of carbohydrates, while giving you the optimal protein source found in milk.

Falmouth Road Runners, Falmouth Sports Club, Western Terrace, Falmouth TR11 4QJ
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