Food to fuel your training

  • Date: 01 June 2016
  • Category: Centre
FDFR nutrition

Good nutrition and training go hand in hand when preparing for a big event like the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run.

YMCA Victoria Health Promotion Officer and Nutritionist Alethea Jerebine has provided her best tips to eating right whilst training hard.

Eating for performance

The key is making every mouthful count.  You won’t need to eat more than usual if you’re training for a 5 or 10km run.  But your body does require food that is high in nutritious value like vitamins and minerals. 

Top tip – minimise or avoid take-away foods, cakes, soft drinks and excessive alcohol as they contribute little in the way of important nutrients and displace the healthier foods in your diet.

The timing of meals and snacks is also important. Planning meals in advance helps get the best out of your training.


Eating 1-2 hours before you train can make a huge difference to your session.  A meal or snack that includes complex carbohydrates like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, rolled oats, vegetables or fruit is ideal.  These are the powerhouse foods that offer a slow sustained release of energy, perfect for fuelling you through your run.  Allowing your body sufficient time to digest your meal is the key to avoiding cramps. 

Try some of these easy ideas:

  • Natural muesli with yoghurt
  • Baked beans on wholegrain toast
  • Lean chicken sandwich with lots of salad

After training

To help your body recover after training, plan to eat a light meal or snack within two hours that includes some protein.  Protein helps our muscles recover and adapt more quickly.  However you don’t need special supplements for this.  Simple meals that combine protein, healthy fats and complex carbs are perfect, like some of these options:

  • an egg on wholegrain toast
  • glass of milk and handful of nuts
  • porridge with yoghurt and berries
  • tuna avocado salad wholemeal wrap

Rehydrate with water

Without a doubt, water is the best recovery drink.  Being even slightly dehydrated can leave you feeling sluggish and impair your performance, so make sure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day.