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Nutrition for 10K Training

author image Carolyn Robbins
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.
Nutrition for 10K Training
Runners in a race Photo Credit: blyjak/iStock/Getty Images

Participating in a 10K race -- just over 6 miles -- is no small accomplishment. Training in the weeks and months before the event will help you build strength and endurance, but putting miles on your shoes isn't enough. Treat your body well by fueling it with healthy foods and your performance will be better on race day.

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Rules for Runners

Calorie needs for athletes in training vary considerably. A petite runner may need as few as 1,600 calories a day, while a tall, muscular athlete may need as many as 5,000 calories per day. Plan your meals carefully around training sessions or you may end up with cramps and a stomachache. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a larger meal three to four hours before you exercise and a small snack -- such as a piece of fruit -- shortly before your workout. Eat a meal or snack 15 to 60 minutes after your workout to replenish your energy stores. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to stay hydrated.

Nutrition Specifics

Carbohydrate loading -- with 70 percent of calories from carbohydrates -- may be helpful a few days before the race -- but not for the long term. Other macronutrients, including fat and protein, are essential for building a strong body for 10K training. To determine your protein needs, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to determine your weight in kilograms. You need 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Fat intake should be no less than 15 percent of your caloric intake, according to Colorado State University nutrition experts.

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