The Healthy Runner

The following are recommendations on proper Sleep, Nutrition and Hydration, all of which will give your body the fuel for an awesome cross country season!

Additionally here is an article on training in the heat:


  • Adequate sleep allows you to be more alert and focused on schoolwork and gives you the ability to train hard
  • Teenagers need AT LEAST 8-10 hours of sleep a night
  • Your muscles, tendons and ligaments are repaired while sleeping, allowing your body to recover from training
  • Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day establishes a routine for quality sleep
  • Avoid using phones, iPads, computers & TV’s before bed as the light disrupts the process of falling asleep
  • Avoid caffeine after 2 – 3 PM



Three “macronutrients” we get calories (energy) from: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats

1. Carbohydrates: Stored as glycogen in muscles and liver

o “Bad carbs” = simple carbohydrates, seen in table sugar, candy, sodas; eat in moderation!
o “Good carbs” = complex carbohydrates, seen in whole grain breads, vegetables, beans, oatmeal; these

should constitute the bulk of eaten carbs
2. Protein: Important for repairing muscles and other tissues after exercise

o Beans, fish, meats (also good sources of iron)
3. Fats: Used as building blocks in cells throughout the body

o “Bad fats” = trans fats, hydrogenated fats, saturated fats, seen in baked/fried foods; eat in moderation! o “Good fats” = monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, seen in oils like olive oil, in peanut butter, and fish; these should be the bulk of eaten fats Suggested daily intake:

  • Carbohydrates: 45-65%
  • Proteins: 10-30%
  • Fats: 25-35%
  • 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables

A runner who is ~150 pounds will need to consume anywhere from 2,500-5,000 calories a day! You’re growing, exercising, and working hard every day at school, so eat when you’re hungry!



Weight loss occurs during exercise due to loss of water through sweating o Losing 1-2% of your body weight can negatively impact performance! o 3% or more can increase the risk of a heat-related illness occurring

  • Urine that is pale yellow (like lemonade) is a sign of proper hydration while dark urine (like apple juice) is a sign of dehydration
  • Steer clear of sodas and sweetened juices as they contain a lot of simple carbohydrates (“bad sugars”)
  • Daily recommended is ~2.5 – 3.5 L per day
  • Have a water bottle with you throughout the day to continually drink from, and for after running
  • Make sure to drink when you’re thirsty but don’t force yourself to drink uncomfortable amounts of water



  • Iron deficiency is becoming much more common in both female and male endurance athletes, and can directly affect athletic performance.
  • All athletes are encouraged to get a blood test before season to determine their base levels for: Hemoglobin, serum ferritin and hematocrit.
  • Always ask for a copy of the blood test results, because what is in the “normal range” for a sedentary person is not the same as the “optimal range” for an athlete.
  • If there is a deficiency, this is not a “quick fix”, it can take 4 – 8 weeks to increase levels and notice a performance improvement. If blood tests reveal that there is a deficiency the form of iron, ferrous bisglycinate, is more easily absorbed and gentler on the gastrointestinal tract.
  • For any questions and further clarification, please consult with the coaching staff.