Not many people know that there are foods and drinks that can improve your running endurance. It’s true! You may be able to run fast, but not long distance, even if you want to. If that is the case, you are probably looking for something to help you out with running longer. Instead of turning to unnatural energy gels, you can turn to natural whole foods that will improve your athletic performance and keep you healthy. Try these options out before your next run and see for yourself how it can improve your running endurance.
1 Coconut Oil
I know for a fact that coconut oil can help improve your running endurance. Just yesterday, I extended my usual run by 3 miles and was wondering why I was able to hold out so long. I then realized I had a piece of toast with coconut oil on it before I went! If you want the research to back this up, coconut oil is actually comprised of medium chain triglycerides, meaning the fat is easily digested. That also means that coconut oil is used immediately for energy and endurance instead of being stored as fat. Usually a tablespoon or so is a good amount to give you energy.
2 Beet Juice
There are many endurance athletes swearing by the benefits of beet juice to increase their endurance. With good reason, too, because beets have been proven to reduce the amount of energy needed to work out. Getting the juice is important because the nutrients are more condensed and provide a quick burst of energy for your run; that is, raw fresh-pressed beet juice straight from a juicer. Consuming it 2 or 3 hours before your run will give you the best results. It doesn’t taste as bad as it sounds, if you are worried about that! You can also combine it with other fresh juice and still get the same effects.
Cherries, especially tart cherries, contain an abundant amount of antioxidants. These will help protect your cells from the oxidative stress your body undergoes during exercise. Also, cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to reduce muscle pain. Fueling your body with cherries before your run is a good idea because you will be reducing inflammation in the body. That means you will be able to run longer without pain or fatigue.
I think bananas are the perfect pre-run snack. Bananas are full of easily digestible carbohydrates that the body will use for energy right away. They contain a little fiber so that they will last in your system, but not so much to give you digestive woes on your run. Also, they have the electrolyte potassium that is often lost during runs. Fueling up on this nutrient beforehand can help prevent the depletion from occurring soon, thus boosting your endurance.
5 Raw Honey
Eating a tablespoon of raw honey before my runs always gives me a burst of energy. That is because honey is composed of simple carbohydrates your body will use for energy right away. It will give you the energy you need to sustain endurance training, and it can even be consumed during your run to help you hold out longer. You can say goodbye to those expensive energy gels when you replace them with a spoonful of raw honey! What is so important about the raw part of the honey? Getting raw honey will ensure you are getting the beneficial live enzymes from honey that will give you added health benefits (such as honey being anti-fungal).
6 Chia Seeds
These babies are packed full of nutrition that will help you power through your workout. You will have loads of energy to workout with if you consume these before your run! They are full of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fiber that will keep your energy high instead of drained. Whenever I know I’m going to be going for a long run, I add chia seeds to my morning smoothie or make chia pudding by letting it sit with almond milk. I almost always feel like my runs are more powerful and strong when I do this, like I can go forever no matter how much I push myself.
This dark, leafy green is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and is anti-inflammatory. As I’ve already described, consuming antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods before you run is a good preventative measure. You can endure pain and oxidative stress longer when your body is reducing inflammation when the inflammation is actually happening. Consuming kale will also give you a huge surge in energy levels! If you made a juice with kale, the effects would be almost immediate because of the concentrated nutrients.
As you can see, there are many healthy options to eat before your run that help you go farther. I can vouch for the results, saying that each of these has helped me push on when I wanted to quit. You can even combine all of these ingredients together and make a very tasty smoothie! Also, make sure you are hydrating properly because you won’t be able to run longer if you aren’t sufficiently hydrated. What food do you find helps you work out longer?