Stop for a moment to appreciate your body. Ignore any wishes for smaller thighs or a firmer tummy and simply marvel at the 206 bones, 650 muscles and countless organs that keep you alive and running every single day. Kind of incredible, right?
To treat yourself like the marvel you are, it’s important to feed every single part from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes. “The biggest thing is to eat real foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables,” says Christine Marquette, R.D., owner of Marquette Nutrition and Fitness in Austin, Texas. Feel great all over with the best items to support every inch of that wonderful bod.
Do the bottom of your FEET ache when you run? Blame your fascia. The connective tissue in your tootsies is a common source of pain for runners. Marquette says the monounsaturated fat in avocados helps keep feet happy and pain-free.
They won’t kill you, but boy do SHIN splints hurt. Marquette recommends easing the pain with turmeric, a natural but powerful anti-inflammatory. “The easiest way to enjoy it is to mix it with veggies and olive oil in a stir-fry,” she says.
Just like greasing a hinge, nutritionist and marathoner Christina Bologna says, water acts as your body’s “natural lubricant” to keep joints like KNEES injury-free. Aim to drink a minimum of 64 ounces a day and integrate hydrating foods, such as fresh fruits and veggies, into your diet.
“A weak PELVIS and weak hips will cause knee and back pain,” says Marquette. Feed this large bone structure with calcium-rich Greek yogurt, which is also a great source of protein.
Keep the skin on these fall fruits and your STOMACH will thank you. “The fiber apples deliver aids regular digestion,” explains Bologna. This encourages the proper absorption of nutrients— and keeps you on the road (and out of the bushes!) during long runs.
“The deep red color in beets comes from the pigment betalain, which helps increase oxygen flow,” says Marquette. She adds that for runners, poor LUNG function can lead to side stitches during workouts.
“Tomatoes are great for the HEART due to high levels of potassium and lycopene,” says Marquette. A strong beater is a runner’s engine, as it circulates oxygen and delivers nutrients through the blood stream to help keep you moving.
The vitamin A and beta-carotene found in carrots are essential for keeping peepers in working order. “When you are exerting energy running, there are times when your vision may get blurry,” says Bologna. “EYE health is essential not just for short-term issues like this but for the long term as well.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are key to staying mentally sharp—and salmon has these in spades. “A healthy BRAIN is a must for anyone, but especially for runners,” says Bologna. “Having mental focus will help you push through tough races where you might otherwise give up.”