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Food on the run: How to eat when training for a 10 km

Brent Fougner, director of the Pacific National Endurance Centre for Athletics and eight-time CIAU coach of the year, and his wife Trish Fougner, a sports consultant and former national team runner, offer an eight-week plan to giving your running a spring tune-up. Follow them on Twitter at @coachfougner and @foggygirl

If you are training your body for a 10K race then you should be fuelling your body the same way. What you eat should be just as important as your physical training. It's not dieting, per se, but behaviour modification for healthier eating.

Start by reducing the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis. This can be as simple as replacing table sugar with a natural substitute like blue agave syrup, which is low on the glycemic index. By reducing your glycemic levels, you will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and reduce the urge to eat more then you need. It will also allow for a better workout and enable recovery. A significant drop in blood sugar levels at the wrong time can have a negative impact on your race, workout or even your workday.

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To recover from workouts or to prepare for a run, when you eat is just as important as to what you eat. Start your day with a meal that includes some form of protein to sustain you till lunchtime. If you plan to run within an hour after breakfast or have an early race, try a protein powder-based smoothie. Experiment with different ingredients to see what agrees with your stomach. Substituting milk with rice, soy or almond milk may help with digestion. Flavour the smoothie with a low-glycemic fruit juice and add a protein powder, such as whey. Following your run, eating a good meal that also includes protein within 30 minutes is ideal.

A balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates and fats is key to keeping the body well-fuelled. Consume fats that lean more to the plant oils, nuts and fish. Monitor the amount of processed food you eat a day. Many of these items are high in sodium and consist of simple carbohydrates that have no nutritional value.

This week's training suggestions – increase overall volume by a maximum of 10 per cent.

Monday: Day off

Tuesday: 10-minute warm-up, then 1 x 10 minutes in Zone 3 with 2-minute relaxed recovery (Zone 1), 2 x 5 minutes (Zone 3) with 1 minute ( Zone 1 ) recovery between. Finish with a cool down of 10-minutes in Zone 1.

Wednesday: Easy run in Zone 1 – minimum 35 minutes

Thursday: Day off

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Friday: Repeat of Tuesday workout

Saturday: Easy run in Zone 1 – minimum 35 minutes

Sunday: Longer run with some running in Zone 2 (increase it by 10 per cent)

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