Running, track and field can be all-season activities. A good nutrition plan can maximize an athlete’s speed, agility, power, and keep them physically strong and mentally sharp. A training diet that will fuel workouts should provide the appropriate amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein and vitamins and minerals.
- Pre-event: Eat complex carbohydrates (like pasta) the night before an event.
- Avoid spicy foods and foods with little nutritional value, such as candy, right before competing. It may seem helpful to eat sugar before a sprint, for example, but the resulting blood sugar spike and crash can decrease performance.
- Post-event: Eat a high carbohydrate meal or drink containing carbohydrates, such as a sports drink.
Proper hydration is essential for track and field athletes. The best way to stay hydrated is to never get dehydrated. Remember, if you are thirsty, have muscle cramps or experience nausea, you are already dehydrated.
- Keep a water bottle with you to sip on throughout the day, rather then trying to hydrate quickly right before/during practice or only during competitions. Drinking liquids too quickly may cause vomiting and make you more dehydrated.
- Drinks high in sugar, such as sodas, act as diuretics and can lead to dehydration. The best drinks are water, juice and sports drinks, which provide carbohydrates and electrolytes for energy.
- To prevent dehydration, salt your food and eat one banana every day, especially during hot weather.