Words by Max Wilcox
Max Willcocks is a personal trainer and ultra marathon runner. With marathons that have gone as far as 100 miles and lasted up to 20hrs, he really pays close attention to the needs of his body. These are a few things that help him go that extra mile.
Marathon running and ultra running is fast becoming a widely embraced sport. Putting your body through the rigors of 26.2 miles and the training that goes with it can be extremely tough. As a trainer, some of the most common questions I get asked are about nutrition. What’s the best thing I can eat to help with my running & what can I be eating to take advantage of all this training to get into/stay in great shape? Well here we look at a few ‘superfood’ that every athlete of every ability should consider making a regular part of their diet.
Chocolate covered Goji berries– We all love a snack throughout the day and some of us have a chocolate craving that just needs satisfying. These chocolate covered Goji berries contain 18 amino acids and as such are a great source of protein, 12g per 100g. The Goji berry is sweet tasting and the raw coca is slightly bitter providing a perfect snack. A snack you don’t have to feel guilty about, so dive in by the handful.
Acai powder– This small dark purple coloured fruit comes from the Acai plant and is bursting with antioxidants. Acai is also full of Anthocyanins, which helps conserve the antioxidant level in the fruit, that it is 10 to 20 times better for you than that glass of red wine that we are told is so good for us for a similar reason. Acai powder can be sprinkled onto porridge or mixed into a smoothie. It’s high in fibre and carbohydrates to aid digestion and provide plenty of ‘energy’ to fuel your training. Also rich in the skin-loving nutrients Omega 3, 6 & 9.
Quinoa- Very few grains pack as much of a punch as Quinoa. It contains all eight essential amino acids, including Lysine, and has a very low GI so will keep you feeling full for longer. With roughly 60g carbohydrate per 100g they are perfect for replenishing glycogen stores after a run or for fueling up before heading out. This is a grain that should be making its way into everyones plate. I even eat this while out on long runs. Cooked in the same way as rice with a couple of pinches of salt.
Maca- Legend has it Maca has the capacity to increase energy, stamina and sexual function. The Maca plant originates from Peru and has been part of their culture for some 2,000 years. This powerful root helps stimulate the endocrine system, which regulates hormones in the body. Maca is also full of calcium, iron and magnesium as well as plenty of vitamin C. In its powder form it can easily be stirred into smoothies, shakes and juices. I haven’t met a Maca user who doesn’t swear by it, well worth getting your hands on.
I have been making all of these a part of how I live not just how I train for the past 2 years. Looking after your diet can be just as important as making sure you’re out there doing the hard work in training. These superfoods (and supergrains) can really help you take your running to the next level.