Running is a great way to stay in shape during college and requires no expensive workout classes or gym memberships. Finding a club and friends to run with makes outdoor running more fun and helps you get involved in something on campus.

Run Oxford is a community running club started in 2013 by a grant from the University of Mississippi and from the support of Oxford Park Commission. It has a large membership of various Oxford residents and Ole Miss students who love running. By starting this club, they have helped citizens pursue or develop a hobby that also helps people maintain a healthy lifestyle.

After speaking with one of Run Oxford’s President, Marvin King, he directed me to Mariana Anaya, a member of Run Oxford and RebelWell, a health and wellness club for students on the Ole Miss campus. Running uses up a lot of your body's energy. A runner needs to be well educated on how to build up healthy energy to expend before and during a run. However, they also must be dedicated to a proper diet and regime.

Anaya’s advice to maintain a healthy runner's diet is focused around five key goals.

1) Equal out your calories

Christin Urso

Running uses up a lot of your body's energy. A runner needs to be well educated on how to build up healthy energy to expend before and during a run. However, they also must be dedicated to a proper diet and regime. Anaya’s advice to maintain a healthy runner's diet is focused around five key goals.

1) Equal out your calories

Anaya says that one way to meet daily calorie needs is to figure out how many calories you need to make it through a long run without going over or under the amount you need to keep energy levels high. She suggests adding 100 calories to your diet for every mile that you run. 

2) Prevent carbohydrate and energy depletion

Christin Urso

According to Anaya, running mainly uses these three components from most important to least: carbohydrates, fat, and some protein as “fuel” to get you through your run. Good carbohydrates to eat include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables because they have more vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber.

For longer runs, unsaturated fats are best. They include nuts, avocados, and fatty fish with omega-3s. Protein also helps get the body through runs by repairing and building muscle, building ligaments and tendons throughout the body, and maintaining muscle contraction and relaxation. Healthy proteins include fish, chicken, eggs, turkey, beans, peas, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. 

3) Promote pre-run preparation

Torey Walsh

Anaya explained that there needs to be enough glucose in the body to complete a long run. To avoid cramping, gas, or nausea, eat a meal high in carbohydrates, low in fat, low in fiber, and unseasoned 45 minutes to an hour before starting a run. Good options are toast, cereal, pretzels, crackers, fruit, fruit smoothies, a bagel, English muffin, a granola bar, or a sports drink. They are easy for the stomach to digest and high in carbohydrates. 

4) Promote post-run recovery

Jocelyn Hsu
Good options are toast, cereal, pretzels, crackers, fruit, fruit smoothies, a bagel, English muffin, a granola bar, or a sports drink. They are easy for the stomach to digest and high in carbohydrates. 

After a long run, Anaya said the body needs to be replenished in carbohydrates, fluids, and electrolytes lost through sweat. It also needs protein for muscle repair within the first 30 minutes. After running, eat a low-fiber, low-fat food for fast digestion, like half a turkey sandwich paired with an orange or a cup of low-fat chocolate milk and a banana. Two or more hours later, make sure to eat a well-balanced, healthy meal. 

5) Maintain hydration

Christin Urso

Drink no more than four ounces of water every 15-20 minutes during your run. To re-hydrate after a run, drink 1.5 times the amount of fluid lost through sweat. Most people lose up to a pound of sweat during long runs, so that means you would need to drink 24 ounces to properly re-hydrate.

After running, eat a low-fiber, low-fat food for fast digestion, like half a turkey sandwich paired with an orange or a cup of low-fat chocolate milk and a banana. Two or more hours later, make sure to eat a well-balanced, healthy meal. 

Next time you decide to go on a run, think back on these five main components to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a successful running routine.