Being interviewed: Running expert Andreas Butz
Andreas Butz has competed in over 150 marathons, ultra runs and triathlons. Andreas knows how important the right nutrition is for runners and isn't shy about giving insights from his Runners Guide (in German). Together with his wife Mrs. Gisela Butz, the running expert published his book „Vitale Läuferküche“.
How did you and your wife get involved in nutrition?
Andreas Butz explains: „When my wife and I became parents 25 years ago, healthy nutrition for our child was our goal. We then started paying more attention. We were and still are athletes and thus wanted a diet that helped us reach our goals. This led to our 'Vital Läuferküche', a guide to a complete plant-based diet with numerous delicious recipes.“
You can find more about Andreas Butz on his website andreasbutz.com.
The importance of nutrition in running
To improve performance, runners use a variety of tactics: Some follow exercise schedules, others use energy gels and protein shakes. But what role does nutrition actually play for runners?
What runners should know about nutrition
We wanted to know from Andreas Butz what significance the topic of nutrition should have for runners. For experienced runners and running coaches, metabolism is the key to a better diet:
Common mistakes with nutrition
According to Andreas Butz, the biggest mistake „is not thinking about the importance of proper nutrition“:
The ideal nutrition for runners
Wholefoods instead of Supplements
Andreas Butz explains that "nutrients and vitamins and avoiding junk food" is the most important for a successful runner's diet:
"Metabolic disturbers are, for example, corn syrup, or any non-whole grain. Alcohol is also terrible. Too much meat and dairy tend to hinder a healthy diet. You should avoid sausage altogether," the expert explains which foods are (not only) much better suited for runners: "You can only do right with a plant-based diet: plenty of fruit, salad, vegetables, nuts and whole grain products. The less the food is processed, according to the rule of thump, the healthier the food. I also recommend choosing organic foods, as organic foods are not treated with fungicides, pesticides nor insecticides."
Even if you are preparing for a race, or a marathon, no special diet is necessary.
"Those who already eat a balanced diet don't need to change anything to prepare for a marathon", according to Andreas Butz. "Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and drink plenty of fluids the day before. For long runs that train edurance and speed, we recommend only drinking water and not sports drinks. Drinking only water will make sure your body continues to burn fat instead of sugars."
Running on an empty stomach - What do you need to consider?
The topic of running on an empty stomach is widely debated. Is it a good idea to jog on an empty stomach? When should you avoid running on an empty stomach?
Andreas Butz isn't against it, per se: "Running on an empty stomach is okay. Just avoid over-doing it. What you are capable of depends on your athletic ability. It's best to avoid long runs and HIT sessions as your body will then use protein in your muscles for energy. That's not what an athlete wants."
Eating right, before and after running
No matter whether hobby or marathon runner: Finding the right meal before and after a run is confusing for many runners.
Andreas Butz advises against carb counting – that's how you lose sight of the big picture: "The focus should be on a healthy diet and not on counting carbs. This is distracting and suggests that there are special nutrients that you should pay attention to. The overall diet is key".
What should runners eat after running?
"The more you exert yourself, the more important it is to provide your body with what it needs to repair itself.", explains Andreas Butz. "Whole wheat products along with organic fruits and vegetables help the body repair itself much faster".
Andreas Butz shows us what he eats everyday:
Want more recipes or diet suggestions?
In addition, Gisela and Andreas Butz organise cooking classes for runners in their Vitality cooking school.
Putting healthy nutrition into practice
A healthy and nutritious diet is essential for runners and endurance athletes. But the theoretical knowledge about the right nutrition is only one side of the coin. The diet, however, needs to be practical, as Andreas Butz emphasizes:
You'll notice changes from your diet switch soon enough: „After just four weeks of a wholefood, sugar-free, vegetable-heavy diet, you should notice the improvement in well-being and quality of life.“
We thank Andreas Butz very much for the informative interview!
For more information about running, take a look at the following articles in the owayo magazine:
Looking for high quality running sportswear? Design your jersey and more in our 3D Designer:
Image credits: Image 1: Ridofranz/iStock; Image 2 (Portray A. Butz): Marco Dahmen; Image 3: Eva-Katalin/E+; Image 4: Eoneren/iStock; Image 5: Santje09/ iStock; Image 6: Golero/E+; Image 7: Erdikocak/E+.