Nutritional tips (6/22)

In this second monthly blog, Katia (Nutritional Therapist, gut health expert and Common Runner) outlines 5 strategies to maintain a healthy weight.

Running and exercise in general is key to maintaining a healthy weight, but sometimes we accumulate stubborn pounds that are hard to shift, especially as we enter our late 40’s and 50’s. By adopting the 5 strategies below, you’ll be able to reduce excess weight or prevent putting it on in the first place without the need for restrictive diets.

1. Balance your blood sugar

Keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range is important to ensure that you have adequate energy throughout the day and don’t have food cravings, especially for those tasty high calorie treats. When planning your meals, choose low glycaemic foods – these are foods that don’t spike your blood sugar and that give you sustained energy over a longer period. A blood sugar spikes is inevitably followed by a crash, leaving you feeling shaky, tired and hungry.

A low glycaemic meal has little to no refined or processed carbohydrates and always includes some protein such as lean meats, dairy and legumes, healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds, and lots of fibre rich foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

2. Eat mindfully

With our busy modern lives, we’re often grabbing our meals and snacks on the run. But this can contribute to digestive problems and unwanted weight gain. As digestion begins in the mouth, it’s important to chew every mouthful until it is the consistency of baby food. Chewing also stimulates the release of digestive enzymes which allow your body to absorb all the essential nutrients. Eating slowly and mindfully gives your body time to register when you’ve reached satiety so you don’t eat more than you need.

I always recommend that you try to eat all your meals and snacks sitting down, preferably not multitasking and without screen distractions. This may feel too time consuming at first, but your body will thank you for it!

3. It isn’t what you eat, but when.

Many of us graze throughout the day, never giving our digestive systems an opportunity to rest and repair. Considerable research has revealed that limiting the time window in which you eat all your meals to around 10 hours and then fasting for the rest of the day can improve your digestive health and help you to lose weight. You’ll need to experiment to see what times suit you and your circumstances best. As I always recommend having a nourishing breakfast, an eating window from 8.30am till 6.30pm is ideal.

If you’re having an early morning run, ensure you allow around an hour to digest your breakfast, and adjust your window accordingly. During the fasting period, you can enjoy tea, coffee and water flavoured with fruit or herbs. By restricting your eating window and sticking to three balanced meals you’re more likely to cut out those high calorie snacks and start shedding the excess pounds.

4. Catch enough zzzz!

Besides affecting how effectively you train, sleep deprivation can sabotage your waistline. This is due to its effect on your nightly hormones, namely ghrelin, the hormone that tells us when we’re hungry and leptin, the hormone that signals satiety and tells you to stop eating. When you’re sleep deprived, you have increased ghrelin and less leptin, making it more likely that you’ll snack more throughout the day. And to make matters worse, this imbalance can also make you reach for the more sugary snacks to increase your energy levels.

The hours before midnight have been shown to be the most beneficial for your overall sleep quality so I now set an alarm in the evening to remind me to promptly draw an end to my day and head up to bed!

5. Hydrate!

Besides being essential in maintaining your energy levels throughout the day, water is needed by your body to process calories and maintain a healthy metabolism. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down.

In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay hydrated, I drink a glass of water before every meal, and keep a bottle with me to sip all day. We can often mistake thirst for hunger so reach for your water bottle first. If you do snack, opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain water, rather than biscuits or crisps.

By staying mindful of these 5 strategies and making them daily habits, you will be optimising how your body uses the food you eat. You’ll maintain a healthy weight without restrictive diets and you’ll feel energised for your daily run!

Nutritional tips (5/22)

In this first monthly blog, Katia (Nutritional Therapist, gut health expert and Common Runner) gives nutrition tips on how to nourish your body to support your running and to fit in with your busy family life.

With the lovely weather finally here, many of us are running more regularly and taking on race challenges. Fuelling yourself with a varied diet of nutrient-rich, whole foods is the ideal way to maintain your energy levels not just during training but throughout the day.

Quality & Quantity

A good quality diet will help you train better, recover faster and reduce the chances of injuries which is even more essential as we get older.

Essentially, this is a balanced diet of mainly fresh, unprocessed, unrefined whole foods which give you all the nutrients your body needs to function at its best. Processed foods with a long list of ingredients usually contain preservatives and additives which can be inflammatory, so the fewer the ingredients, the better!

Eating adequate amounts per meal is key since under-fueling can lead to energy lows and prolonged recovery time.

For a simple guide to having a balanced meal, visualise your plate with 2-3 handfuls of vegetables, a palm size portion of protein-rich foods such as fish, chicken, eggs or legumes and a handful of complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain rice, pasta or bread. Don’t forget a small amount healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado or olive oil.

Before Setting Off

Mornings can be hectic for many of us, making breakfast a rushed affair. However, starting your day with a mix of good fats, protein and complex carbohydrates is better for blood sugar control and maintaining your energy levels throughout the day.

If you don’t eat breakfast before a run you’re more likely to feel fatigued and this can increase your risk for injury.

One of my favourites is organic porridge topped with a tablespoon of nut butter, blueberries and a sprinkle of seeds. If you prefer savoury, try avocado or egg on sourdough toast with a side of vegetables like grilled tomatoes.

Ideally eat at least one hour prior to running to allow your food time to digest and to fuel your muscles which will help you feel stronger and more energised for your training.

Post-run Replenish & Repair

 After a long run, your hunger cues can be suppressed. But this is exactly the time you should not rely on your gut feelings!

During prolonged exercise your muscles are subjected to stress and the muscle fibres develop micro tears. Refuelling your body with the right foods within 30 minutes after your run is so important as it will help you to recover faster.

Opt for foods high in protein and some carbohydrate – my regulars are hummus with pita bread or a boiled egg with a couple of rice cakes. You’ll find that, if you plan ahead so that your snack is ready when you get back from your run, it’s less likely that you’ll be reaching for those less nutritious, calorie-dense foods!

Carbs Are In!

 For mainly weight-loss reasons we tend to limit or avoid carbohydrates but they are our bodies’ preferred fuel.

Your body can use fat and protein for energy too, but the process of converting either of those into energy is a lot more complex and takes much longer. Your body stores carbohydrates in your muscles and liver in the form of glycogen and these stores are depleted after around 60 min of exercise. Failing to adequately top up your stores by restricting carbohydrates can lead to fatigue and to uncontrollable cravings later in the day.

Have a Drink

It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day and not to have a large volume in one go as your body won’t retain all of it.

I always recommend starting the day with a large glass of filtered water with lemon – this will ensure you’re well hydrated before your run. Pay attention to dehydration cues – besides a dry mouth, dry skin and fatigue are also signs that you need to top up.

Interestingly, thirst receptors in our brains start to lose their sensitivity as we get older so dehydration cues don’t register as effectively to let us know it’s time for a drink. So it’s essential, especially in this warmer weather, to keep a bottle with you wherever you go so that you can sip all day.

Staying Balanced…

 It is important to understand how food fuels your body but it is equally important to maintain a balance between eating the foods you love and those that enhance your performance. So live your life to the full, enjoying your favourite treats in moderation. That way you’ll be a healthy and happy runner!

About Katia

Hi everyone! I was delighted when Caroline asked me to write a blog for Common Runners to share my knowledge on all things nutrition and pass on tips which are useful not only for runners but also their families.

For those of you who haven’t met me, I absolutely love running outdoors but don’t get to do it as often as I should! I am a Nutritional Therapist and gut health expert helping high achieving women to optimise their diets and restore their health so that they can live their lives to the full.

Please follow me on @nutritionapplied or check out www.nutrition-applied.com

Winter 2022 running courses

New running courses: Tuesday 4 January – Friday 1 April 2022

The new term starts on Tuesday 4 January and finishes on Friday 1 April. It’s a 12 week term excluding half term and costs £156 (daytime & evening class only) OR £168 (including a weekly social run).

Here’s a reminder of the classes on offer:
* Monday @9.30am (improvers 3)
* Monday @10.30am (beginners)
* Tuesday @8.30am (improvers 1)
* Tuesday @7pm (improvers mixed ability)
* Thursday @10.30am (improvers 2)
* Fridays @9.30am (mixed ability social run)

If you would like to renew/join, please complete a health form. You can pay by Bacs to the usual account – please reference your name. For more information please email info@commonrunners.co.uk

1-2-1 running analysis sessions

NEW: 1-2-1 RUNNING ANALYSIS SESSIONS

Whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned runner, our NEW head-to-toe running technique analysis sessions will make a big difference to the way you feel and perform when running.

During December & January 2022 I’m offering 10% off the normal cost of our running analysis sessions (normal price: £60 per session). Xmas vouchers can be purchased for this service.

During the session, I’ll review/photo your posture, arms, foot strike, hips, arms and cadence and make key recommendations, all summarised in a personalised document. Thereafter, you may want to purchase additional sessions that will focus on how to implement those key recommendations and will involve some homework! Changing or adapting your running technique does take time but you should see improvements over a 5-6 week period.

During lockdown and thereafter I carried out over 10 head-to-toe assessments for runners who were constantly injured when they increased their mileage and/or they wanted to run faster. Knowing how you run and how to implement key recommendations can make all the difference.

FYI: I’m an England Athletics Running Coach as well as a Technique Running Coach so you’re in safe hands!

20% discount at Proviz

I’ve just obtained a 20% discount for us from Proviz, a great on-line shop that’s renowned for hi-viz clothing that can be worn during the day and after dark. I’ve bought a jacket and top from Proviz and the quality is excellent. Please use the code ‘cr20’. 

Richmond Pk charity run

Sign up for our Richmond Park charity run For the second year running we are running 3/5/7miles in Richmond Park on Friday 10 December @9.30am and raising funds for Stem4, a great local charity that supports positive mental health in teenagers. EVERYONE IS INVITED TO TAKE PART, EVEN BEGINNERS!For now, please let me know if you would like to take part and your preferred distance. More information will follow about how to raise money/contribute. 

Xmas run & drinks!

Book our Xmas scavenger hunt run & drinks

Our annual Christmas scavenger hunt run and drinks is back and takes place on Thursday 2 December, 7pm onwards – everyone is invited! 

You can join us for the run and/or drinks but ideally I would love you to come to both! The run starts and finishes at The Wimbledon Club on Church Road where there is plenty of parking. You will be divided into teams of varying speeds/abilities, given a list of places/items to find and photograph with all team members before heading back to The Wimbledon Club by 8pm.

The bar area in The Wimbledon Club is fairly spacious and doesn’t tend to get too crowded which is a bonus. I’ve reserved an area and Prosecco, soft drinks and canapes will be pre-ordered so that everything is ready for us after the run. The run is FREE but there’s a CHARGE for the refreshments: £30 – this gives you two glasses of Prosecco, sparkling water and a selection of canapes OR £25 – this gives you two soft drinks and a selection of canapes (pleas specify your soft drink).

Our usual Tuesday evening class that week will be replaced with the Christmas scavenger hunt run. If you have any questions please let me know. I do hope that you can make it!

Oct half term scavenger hunt

If you are staying local over the October half term, how about going on an scavenger hunt run (or walk) around Wimbledon Common/Village with family and friends? The hunt is all about Wells, ponds, memorials and camps! You can download a copy here.

Start and finish the scavenger hunt run/walk outside the Windmill Cafe on the Common and see how many places of interest you can find in one hour. If you do the hunt with family members, you can split into teams and have a reward for the winning team who has photo proofs of their finds. Enjoy!

Trail shoes recommendations

Over the past week it’s been tricky for some navigating the puddles and mud while running on the Common.  So I asked Sporting Feet for their recommendations and they confirmed that the Brooks Cascadia and Asics Sonoma continue to be the most popular shoes. At the moment some of these shoes are discounted so it might be worth looking now!

As a reminder, a trail running shoe is an off road shoe with better grip and waterproofing. The most waterproof of all have a Gore-tex upper but they aren’t water-resistant. Sporting Feet have a good range of trail shoes in store, from Asics, Brooks, Adidas and Salomon. As mentioned, their two best selling trail shoes are the Brooks Cascadia 16 and the Asics Sonoma 6 GTX (or previous models) and these are ideal for winter running on local terrain like the Common.

The Brooks Cascadia is non Gore-tex (as some runners prefer a shoe that lets water out as some water is going to get in anyway) and is a really comfortable, well cushioned ‘road to trail’ shoe. It has great grip and can be worn in tough trail conditions but it is also a good ‘hybrid’ shoe that can be worn for some road running too – an ideal winter shoe.

The Asics Sonoma 6 GTX is an affordable, pretty lightweight Gore-tex shoe so it is more waterproof. Again, it’s tread is not so aggressive and makes a really good winter, hybrid shoe.

if you need advice on the best trail shoes to go for including sizing as some trail shoes come up small, please call Sporting Feet on 020 8780 0558. Please remember your 10% discount by using the code ‘CR10’. 

Book Royal Parks run

On Friday 5 November we are going on a 10k run through the Royal Parks in London. This run will be slightly different from our previous Royal Parks run in 2017!

The run will start at Kensington Palace and finish at the Embankment with tea/cake at a cafe overlooking the Thames. We’ll head to the Diana Memorial Playground, run along the Serpentine, into Hyde Park, pass Marble Arch, into Green Park and St James Park before running along the towpath/roads to the Embankment. As always, there will be plenty of stops along the way.

The cost of the run is £10 and there’s a maximum of 12 places. Please let me know if you’re interested in joining us.