Runners are always looking for a slight edge in their training, and nutrition is one way to find that edge. Below is a list of foods that are ideal for runners and their performance. The best part? These items can be purchased at nearly any grocery store.
— JELL-O (@JELLO) October 31, 2017
According to Alex Hutchinson in Outside Magazine, Jell-O could seriously aid in the recovery of connective tissue, which is notoriously difficult to heal. According to Hutchinson, “Gelatin alone won’t cure you. According to researcher Keith Baar [UC Davis], its role is to amplify the effects of exercise on the targeted tissue. But you need to optimize the exercise for the connective tissue you’re trying to heal or strengthen.”
Hutchinson says that ligaments respond to certain amino acids like proline, which is a key component of collagen. “To figure out the best way to administer proline to humans, Baar did some online research and concluded that the best option was that old-school dinner-party staple, gelatin.”
Hutchinson describes that 2016 Olympian Kate Grace was instructed to start making Jell-O to help her various ligament and tendon issues heal, and for her, it worked. The link between gelatin and connective tissue requires more research, but if you’re struggling with achilles issues for example, making some Jell-O for dessert wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The 2019 IAAF comprehensive sports nutrition guide suggested that nitrates can be helpful for long distance runners. Nitrates are found naturally in beets, so it turns out there was something to the beet juice craze of 2014. Beet juice has been found to increase levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the blood, which increases blood flow to the muscles, stimulates mitochondria growth, and strengthens muscle contractions, leading to significantly enhanced endurance in athletes (as much as 16 per cent, according to one early study).
Another place to get your nitrates are from leafy greens. Kale and collards greens are two tasty examples of vegetables with nitrates. While getting nitrates from the source isn’t as concentrated as a supplement, eating whole foods provides you with many other necessary nutrients.
Runners love coffee, and for good reason. Caffeine is a legal performance enhancer, so a cup of coffee or tea is encouraged for a pre-race boost.