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Running Performance: Fuel Up

Fueling: Maximize Your Running Performance and Recovery

Hello runners!

As runners, we’re familiar with the rhythmic cadence of our footfalls, the exhilaration of pushing our limits, and the satisfaction of reaching new milestones. But behind every stride lies a crucial factor: fuel. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or simply enjoying a leisurely jog, proper fueling can make all the difference in your performance and recovery.

The Basics

Running demands energy, and our bodies rely on various fuel sources such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins to power us through each step. Among these, carbohydrates reign supreme. Why? Because they are the most readily available and easily metabolized source of energy. 

Carbohydrates are like the stored reserves in our body’s gas tank, primarily stored in our muscles and liver. Proper fueling throughout the day ensures that these carbohydrate stores remain at optimal levels for when you hit the pavement. This means your body is primed and ready to convert these carbs into energy when you need it most.

Before You Go

Before lacing up your shoes, consider fueling up with a balanced meal rich in carbohydrates. Think oatmeal, peanut butter toast with honey, fruit, or a bagel. Aim to consume this meal about 30 minutes to 2 hours before your run to ensure those energy stores are topped up and ready to go.

As you log those miles, especially on longer runs exceeding 30 minutes, your body starts tapping into its carbohydrate reserves. This is where fueling on the go becomes crucial. Easily digestible snacks like energy gels, honey, fruits, or candies can provide a quick boost of carbs to keep you going strong. Aim to consume these every 45 minutes during extended efforts, ensuring a steady stream of energy to your muscles.

Post Run Fuel

Post-run recovery is just as vital as pre-run preparation. After crossing the finish line, prioritize replenishing your body with a combination of carbohydrates and protein. This dynamic duo helps restore depleted glycogen stores and aids in tissue repair, setting the stage for optimal recovery. Consider refueling with a protein shake and a carbohydrate-rich meal to kickstart this process.

Remember, the journey of a runner is not without its hurdles. Overuse injuries often stem from being under-prepared or under-recovered. To keep injury at bay, prioritize strength training, cross-training, and ample rest alongside effective fueling practices. Avoid ramping up mileage too quickly, prioritize quality sleep, and ensure your body gets the nourishment it needs through fueling to thrive.

The Finish Line

In conclusion, fueling isn’t just about filling up your tank—it’s about maximizing your performance and supporting your body’s recovery. So, next time you lace up your running shoes, remember to fuel smart, run strong, and recover well.

-Keep running strong!, Dr. Greg.

If you are having trouble implementing these ideas, consider a free phone consultation to discuss Running Performance & Recovery, and other aspects of your Running Program. My email is DrEllis@rehab2perform.com.  Need more guidance, check out our R2P+ Digital Program, and see if it is right for you.

running physical therapist

Dr. Greg Ellis PT, DPT, CSCS

Performance Physical Therapist 

Follow Greg on Instagram (HERE) for more content and to see his running progress!


Fitness Focused Physical Therapy

Running injuries holding you back? Rehab 2 Perform specializes in preventing risk to re-injury and empowering you with the tools to stay active. We serve the AnnapolisBethesdaColumbiaFrederickGambrillsGermantown and Mt. Airy areas in Maryland, and now in Leesburg, and the Tysons Corner Business District in Virginia. Contact us today at 1(301) 798- 4838 or schedule an appointment by visiting us here today. 

We accept all major insurances, including Tricare, VA Community Care, and the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Network!

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