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Nutrition & Hydration for Running: Ready, Set...GO!

3/25/14 4:08 PM
By this point in the month, if you have been keeping up with these running tips you are on your way to proper running training...you have the right shoes, you know how to breathe better and you have stretched & strengthened your body. Now it's time to fuel up.

Treat your body right when you are training and give back what you take from yourself. Proper nutrition and hydration are a HUGE component of running a race at your peak performance.


  • If you are going to run a long distance (generally greater than 40 minutes) you should bring some sort of fuel with you, such as one of those goo gel packs.
  • Re-fueling should occur every 30-40 minutes along with hydration every mile. Of course, in weather conditions of extreme heat and humidity you should do this more frequently.
  • While you train, eating one hour before a run is ideal. This allows time for digestion and absorption of the nutrients for use during the run. This should include complex carbohydrates, glucose and protein. (It almost goes without saying, but also should include lots of good old fashioned H20!)

Not sure what to eat? Pro-tip: Here's a list of good foods to eat while training...
  • Complex carbohydrates: whole grain bread & pastas, quinoa, starchy vegetables, legumes and potatoes.
  • Protein: Lean meats, legumes, low-fat milks, yogurt, low-fat cheeses.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Fruits, Vegetables (greens and reds are best), electrolyte beverages


  • Making up about 70% of your body, water is your best friend. When you exert and sweat while you run (which we all do!), it is critical to rehydrate and restore your supply. Sweat is more than just water leaving your body though. You are also losing and depleting your electrolyte supplies (sodium, potassium, etc). These elements are critical to organ function and to your body's movement capabilities.
  • Ever get that feeling of side "stitches"? That is your body's way of telling you it needs help and is dehydrated. 
  • During your workday, ditch the sugary drinks and sodas. Sip on plenty of water  throughout the day. Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade) are great to drink before and after a run to load up and replenish your electrolyte balance.
  • When preparing for a race, start hydrating one week prior to the race - don't wait until the day before. Start consuming electrolyte or sports drink the day before the race to build up an ample supply to start the race with.

Feeling healthier and more energized already? We are too. Ready, set, go!
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: healthy habits, tips, stretches, sport specific, running