RunaMuck's article

Various Diets and How They Affect Runners of Different Types


A good race depends on more than just your training. If you want to improve your speed and performance, you also need to consider what you are putting into your body. The type of food an athlete should eat depends on the kind of sport they do. When you consume the right foods at the right time, your running performance is greatly enhanced. In addition to that, you will reduce the risk of injury and illness.

In this article, we discuss the top diets and their effects on runners.


1.     Ketogenic diets

For so many years, carbohydrates have been promoted as the main fuel source for runners; this is because high carbohydrate diets increase the amount of glycogen stored in the liver and muscle, and this improves endurance performance. But the body is full of fat stores, and scientists and nutritionists have begun to wonder how we can tap into those stores for fuel.

This diet is increasingly becoming the favorite among runners who want to lose weight or teach their bodies to use fat as fuel. But whether runners, specifically, should put their bodies in a state of ketosis depends on your goals.

The ketogenic diet which is also known as low-carb, high–fat (LCHF), is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb nutrition plan and this is a drastic shift from what the typical carb-heavy runners eat. Although the amount of fat one eats on a ketogenic diet varies, ketogenic diets contain high percentage of fat with carbohydrate taking only a little percentage. By cutting down carb intake - less than 25 net grams per day - ketogenic diets force your body into ketosis (a metabolic state in which the body heavily relies on fat for energy instead of sugar/glycogen), and this is the purpose of the diet. When you eat fewer carbs, your glucose levels go down, which lowers insulin levels and this triggers the production of ketones that do not need the help of insulin to get into and fuel the cells.

Long distance runners (ultra-runners, for instance) may benefit from this diet because over the later miles (beyond 30 miles), the body needs to start tapping into fat stores. Moreover, when you are running at lower intensities, you need to burn more fat as fuel. But for runners (such as sprint runners) running at higher intensities than the ultra-runners, carbs may still be best because carbs are the main source of fuel at higher intensities.

In recent times, there are doubts as to whether or not keto diets actually help athletic performance. There isn’t really a lot of good research that shows those people can perform better, and that’s really what runners care about. Diabetics have to routinely measure their ketones; if the ketone levels are too high, it can indicate a major complication of diabetes.

If you decide to try this new way of fueling, consult with your dietitian first. Also remember that saturated fat has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure; so choose diets that are high in unsaturated fat, such as fish, nuts, oils and avocados.


2.   Vegetarian diets

Vegetarian and vegan diets may have differing effects on athletic performance depending upon the type of exercise performed. Vegan diets tend to be lower in calories, protein, fat, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium and iodine than omnivorous diets, but they contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, micronutrients, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Hence vegan athletes may need to consume higher amounts of these foods compared to omnivores and other vegetarians. All vegans should take a B12 supplements. Calcium supplements are controversial after a study showed a link between calcium supplements and a greater risk for heart disease. Some forms of tofu are high in calcium. Green, leafy vegetables are another good non-dairy source of calcium. Vegetarian diets are higher in carbohydrates that boost muscle glycogen for greater endurance. Still, vegetarian endurance athletes still need to consume adequate amounts of plant-based protein and need more than people who are sedentary. Creatine supplementation along with an increase in plant-based protein may help vegetarian and vegan athletes compensate for the lack of animal protein. If you’re trying to build lean body mass or strength and you’re eating a vegetarian diet, make sure you’re getting enough plant-based protein from a variety of sources including fermented soy, whole grains, beans and lentils. If you’re not vegan, eggs are the highest quality source of protein to help promote muscle growth.

Vegetarian strength and power athletes should try as much as possible to eat a diet higher in plant-based protein from a variety of sources and ensure they’re getting enough calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D. Eating iron-rich foods such as red meat will also be more important for a marathon runner than a sprinter as it is an essential component of hemoglobin, the protein in blood that transports oxygen around the body.

However, according to a study comparing vegan and omnivore athletes, vegetarian diets do not compromise athletic performance and may even help aerobic capacity.


3.   Mediterranean diets

The Mediterranean diet, which consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, and olive oil, could reduce a harmful dependency on animal protein. The fundamental Mediterranean diet component is an emphasis on eating mostly plant-based foods and limiting red meat. But you need more protein for muscle building. Therefore, focus on getting more protein from the foods the diet promotes. Include foods such as poultry, fish, yogurt, cheese, and eggs in your daily eating plan. You need about 25 to 30 grams daily intake of protein to meet your everyday protein needs; this isn’t difficult to do.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which can provide plenty of carbs, but most of these foods are eaten in portions that may be inadequate for endurance athletes—though recent research suggest athletes can perform well on far fewer carbs than most experts recommend.

Mediterranean diet won’t slow you down in any way. This diet, which is promoted mostly as a heart-healthy, weight-loss diet, is also ideal for performance.


4.   Paleo diets

The Paleo diet emphasizes high-protein foods and other items that can be consumed without additional processing such foods include eggs, organ meats, game and wild meats, fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables (although obese people should limit grapes, bananas, cherries and mangoes), nuts and seeds (except peanuts), oils (olive, walnut and flaxseed), moderate use of coffee, tea, wine and beer, and moderate intake of dried nuts. It limits carbs and beans, which can be difficult if you don't care for meat.

The Paleo diet excludes foods such as dairy, cereal grains, legumes and starchy vegetables, foods that contain salt, fatty, cured and processed meats, soft drinks and fruit juices, candy, honey and syrup.

This diet lacks vital nutrients, such as calcium, fiber, iron and carbohydrates hence it fails to meet the special needs of strength and power athletes, who need additional carbohydrates. It is also an expensive way to eat.





5.    Carnivore diet

This diet is one in which you subsist on animal foods alone. Imagine a diet where you eat steak, bacon, and pork. This is what the carnivore diet is about –meat, meat, meat; no grains, no fruits, no veggies. This diet says no carb, high fat, and high protein. This diet suggests you buy the best quality meat products possible. Although with this diet, you will inevitably enter ketosis (but not fulltime), unlike keto diets, carnivore diets emphasize animal fat; they do not allow for plant fat and carbs.

Meats such as beef, lamb, poultry are the predominant source of protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc (iron and zinc are most deficient in vegetarian diets). Over the years, countless athletes have embraced the carnivore diet. They have ditched plant foods for animal flesh.

Copyright GoRunaMuck.com



I've been running for about four years. After learning how to run properly it has improved my run-times and has also minimized injuries. Running posture is important, especially for distance runner who are likely to suffer from repetitive impact injuries.

 Related image



HEAD-Run with your head up and pointed forward. Don't look at your feet as this compromises the rest of of your running posture.

The best visualization technique I've learned is the "puppet posture." Picture a string coming out of the top of your head, pulling you upright. You are hanging there and your feet are barely touching the ground. Using this technique, I actually get a sense of floating or flying. It makes running seem even more natural than it already is and keeps me aligned in perfect form.

EYES-Are facing forward but are darting around every few seconds to watch for cars, pedestrians and obstacles that could injure you on the sidewalk.

EARS-Should always be listening. If you run outside with headphones don't blast your music. Keep it at a volume low enough to hear cars, sirens, horns and people.

MOUTH-Should be relaxed. A good test that tells whether you are running in a relaxed position is jiggly cheeks.

SHOULDERS-Neutral and not tensed up. Don't clench or pinch your shoulder blades together or pull them up toward your neck.

ARMS-Bent at the elbow making a 90 degree angle resting at your side. They should be loose and relaxed. Not stiff and tucked in your body.

HANDS-Slightly cupped and again, relaxed.

TORSO-Flexed, moves with the legs and hips. Use your abs to help propel you, give you stabilization and maintain balance.

HIPS-Facing forward and flicking left to right with the legs.

BUTT-Put some glute in to your runs. Flex your glutes and concentrate on each stride coming first from the butt, then the legs. You can really get a great glute workout running uphill.

LEGS-Shorter running strides are better than the long ones. They reduce injuries like muscle pulls and strains. They also save energy during long runs. You don't want to burn out before crossing the finish line because you are moving your legs inefficiently. However find the balance between the long and short strides. You still want to be running, not shuffling along.

KNEES-Slightly flexed to take impact. Sprinters raise their knees more than endurance runners for power.

FEET-Your feet should land directly underneath your body.



Always start your run with a warm up. Your body needs time to get the idea that you are indeed, running! I find that sometimes I even walk funny for the first few minutes simply because my body hasn't coordinated itself yet.

Muscles also need a warm up to reduce injuries.

As you start running gradually increase your speed as to not shock yourself and lead your bod to an early burn out.

Remember to cool down at the end so your heart rate and circulation can go back to normal before taking it easy.

Everybody has a different running style but as long as you follow the basic principals of running posture your runs will go smoothly an injury free.

Have a great run!




Running is the most common cardio exercise people do. Running helps you burn a lot of calories and is great with improving the health of your heart and lungs. But the problem with this exercise is that you are prone to injuries not on the outside but also on the inside. Most injuries when running involve bad posture when you are running. Why is a good running posture important?

When you have a good running posture, you get a good cardio workout. The key benefit of a cardio exercise is to help your heart and lungs. With a bad running posture, you actually help both organs get hurt. Proper body alignment is very important when you run. When your body is properly aligned, the body's energy travels more freely and your muscles are in the right position to lengthen and shorten. The body is also working efficiently because the muscles are not using too much energy making you run faster, easier. Proper alignment also helps in preventing any injuries to your knee and hip joints.

Make sure that you have your shoulders back to allow your chest cavity to get as much oxygen it needs when you're working out. When you are slumped forward, it makes it harder to breathe. Do not lean back too far as it's harder to breathe that way too. lean forward from the ankles. This helps in keeping your body relaxed. This also increases your speed and run with less effort because your body is relaxed. Avoid leaning too far forward though since this puts your mass to center in the front of your hip area.

This makes you put your foot too far in front of your body and puts more stress on the front of your legs. Another thing that you have to check when you are running is the position of your head. Try not to look down too much or leaning your head forward. These abnormal head positions not only cause stress on the back of your neck, it also affects the muscles on your upper back and shoulders. The worst thing that this can cause is neck arthritis.

The simplest way to get a good posture when you run is to check your posture when you are standing. To start, try walking a couple of paces in place then stop and keep your feet aligned with your shoulders. With the help of a mirror, the middle of your ear, shoulder, hip and ankles need to form a line from bottom to top. You can also check yourself by standing against a wall. This can help you find that line as well as checking if your head is in the right posture. If your head is hitting the wall or if you have to exert effort in pulling your head back, that means your head is not in the proper alignment. You can fix this by pretending that you have a string on your head pulling it up. That keeps you in the proper position from head to toe.

You have to take note that our muscles and ligaments have memory and will keep any posture we are used to unless you remind yourself to take a proper stance. When you have better posture when running, you get better results.


Written by Teresa

Copyright GoRunaMuck.com



Plantar Fascia is a ligament that is located at the heel of the foot to the balls of the feet. It acts as the shock absorber for the foot and it also supports the arch. Athletes mainly runners, have a very high tendency of developing Plantar Fasciitis because of long periods of exercise and running. These activities are hectic and the tension that results from these activities can cause the fascia to be inflamed and strained which leads to the muscle and tendon in the foot and the lower leg to become aggravated.


With such kind of aggravated injury, runners tend to continue training and these can be very dangerous as the pain can lead to other injuries. When this happens it affects the diagnosis of other injuries in the lower extremities.


Plantar Fasciitis can occur in different degrees. In some cases some runners can endure mild plantar fasciitis and continuing their exercise while treating the root cause of the problem. While in others the case can worsen due to continued exercises and this can lead to excruciating pain which may make walking extremely difficult and running almost impossible. In the event that you have a severe case, it is advisable to stop vigorous activities and rest for some days while in a mild case it is still possible to continue running if managed well.


For experienced runners suffering from plantar fasciitis, it is advisable to take a few days off before you resume training. Stretch your feet a few times a day with foam covering your calves and legs. Do not wear worn or non athletic shoes as they may be a contributing factor to your plantar fasciitis. As you begin to heal, gradually incorporate running into your daily routine at a reduced rate then gradually work your way up to your regular workout schedule.


For amateur runners with mild or moderate plantar fasciitis, it is possible to infuse running into your daily fitness routine. You can start by walking then gradually infuse jogging and running into your routine. Take a few days off between your runs, this ensures that your feet has enough time to recover, then gradually increase the duration of your running exercise until you are jugging more than walking.

In the event you have severe plantar fasciitis or you experience excruciating pain, it is advisable to refrain from all exercise until you seek medical advice.




Have a thorough warm up before you start running: Having a good warm up is very important before you start with any exercise. The aim of the warm up is to increase your heart rate, improve your range of motions around your joints, increase your capillary activation and elasticity of your tendons and ligaments. A normal warm up exercise should include the stretching of your hip flexor and legs with exercise such as squats and leg swings. Because you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, special attention needs to paid to your ankles, calves and your plantar fascia ligament during the warm up. These exercise can be infused with your warm up:

·         Calf rises

·         Pointing

·         Flexing your toes

·         Ankle circles


Apply ice after every workout: When you feel heel pain after an exercise, try raising and icing your feet when you are rested. Leave your feet in ice for 10-15 minutes after your exercise then repeat in the evening if you are still experiencing some heel pain. There are a couple of ways to ice your feet, you can fill a bucket of water and submerge your feet or hold a bag of frozen peas to the bottom of your feet.




Plantar fasciitis can be treated at home without visiting the hospital. The common methods include:


Massage: Different types of massages can be used to relive the pain of an affected area. For best results contact a sports therapists


Stretching: The fascia can be stretched by pulling out the toes back towards your body. Gently stretch then gradually build to pulling the foot back further.


Wearing correct footwear: Putting on the right running shoe is very imperative before you commence your exercise. There are different types of running shoes, so it is important that you find the one that fits correctly, has the correct level of balance and support and cushioning to help ease in the event of a fall.


Insoles: This absorbs shock on the foot and also helps to align the foot correctly when suffering from plantar fasciitis.


Night splint: This is worn at night to ensure a deep long stretch in severe cases.

Written by Sonia Forde

Copyright GoRunaMuck.com

Pages: 1 2 »