Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nutrition to aid running injury recovery

I had an epiphany:  I am what I eat!  That is a 'Duh' moment for sure.

Over the past few years as Sally and I 'Cleaned up' our eating (Sally is gluten and lactose intolerant...we prepare and eat really tasty and -good-for-us meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables) I've been lax in paying attention to what I eat.  In fact even though I know they are good for me, I don't like vegetables and would completely forget about adding them to my diet if I had my way.  And if you've followed me on this blog for a while you know that I have a weakness for salty snacks and diet soda. As a long-time runner I've managed loose weight and keep it off while staying relatively injury-free even while not eating particularly well for many of those years.

And then the epiphany!  I've gained a few pounds.  My joints ache.  I get injured and I don't spring back from these running injuries as quickly as I used to.  Time to start thinking about nutrition more seriously. Specifically what nutrition can help with injury recovery. There's a lot of talk and discussion about this subject online.  Oxidation, lactic acid, free-radicals ... all confusing and in many cases contradictory.  Given my personal experience in eating without gluten and lactose, I've come to understand the value of this 'fruits and vegetables' thing.

The benefits of Vitamin A Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Zinc and Protein are laid out in this article from RunnersConnect.   like this article as well because it also includes the specific meat, fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of the specific vitamin, mineral and food.  Yes, most of these are available in food and there are many supplements to choose from to top up on the specific vitamins...we came back from our local Costco where we passed a product display wall 8 feet high with bottles of Omega 3 capsules!

Check it out here:  Diet for the Injured Runner.

"All of the above" are discussed in length in this article from Runner's World.  They go further though and talk about adding supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which have been shown to decrease inflammation and improve mobility.  Read it here:  Food Rx   

Fruits and vegetables and nuts and supplements...all are essential in speeding up recovery from an injury. Now on to protein and the role it plays not only in injury recovery but in building muscle.  Is there such a thing as enough protein?  Chicken, beef and my favourite pork are all excellent sources of protein which has been shown to aid in muscle recovery. 

In this article, lots of information about Protein for Runners.  
And then there's my personal experience with injury recovery.  Back in 2009 when I was training for the Reggae Marathon I added JuicePlus+ to my nutrition regimen.  I started about 6 months before the race and continued on after of course.  It's not a magic pill but with the concentration of fruits and vegetables it was a convenient way to 'top up'.  The result?  The post-race recovery was much shorter that I expected...I was running regularly again within a week (and I had a tough race that day).  Check out my experience at Reggae Marathon here.  Go to this link to find out the benefits of JuicePlus+ at this link:  S-P JuicePlus+ (purchase directly online as well).

Yes I'm eating better:  more variety and smaller portions.  I still have a weakness for salty snacks but I've managed to cut out the diet sodas.  Raw vegetables are still not my favourite so I take supplements.  I watch my runs and treat any small injuries right away. The 'Duh' moment finally sunk in.

Until next time...

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