When you are getting ready for an endurance event how you train and what you eat will have a big impact on your results. Whether you are trying to improve your time or just hoping to make it to the finish line, fueling your body is key.
Training will help you build endurance and muscle strength but what we put into our bodies is just as important as how we work them. Adding key foods is one way to help us get the most from the effort we are putting in. Basic nutrition is a good place to start – fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, meat, chicken, pulses and eggs are all important foods to include. We also need healthy fats but as we don’t want to carry any unnecessary extra weight, we need to look at the foods we choose to maximise the nutrition we get from each mouthful.
When it comes to building and maintaining muscle, protein is the most important nutrient. Protein contributes to growth in muscle mass as well as helping to maintain muscle. You need good quality protein throughout the day so it’s great to include some at your main meals and top up when you snack. Fish is rich protein giving you about 20g of good quality protein in one serving (100g). Tinned fish has the protein of fresh fish making it a great option as part of your main meals or when you need to add protein on the go.
Apart from protein, your muscles need a range of vitamins and minerals for good function. Calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin D all contribute to normal muscle function and need to be part of your overall training plan. As well as being rich in protein, fish is a good source of many of the minerals your body needs during training. With B vitamins, helping to reduce tiredness and fatigue, and calcium needed for normal muscle function, tinned fish is packed with essential nutrition. Tinned fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are all good sources of vitamin D as well as protein. Tinned sardines and salmon, where you can eat the bones, are rich in calcium. One tin of salmon has 300mg of calcium and one tin of sardines has 500mg.
Tinned fish is a quick, easy and convenient way to add more fish into your training plan. Enjoy a tuna sandwich, add salmon to a quick pasta dish or try a no-drain tuna snack at the end of a training session. Whichever you choose, you will be well on your way to maximising the results you get from all your hard work.