As averse as people are to fats, it’s important to know that there are good fats and bad fats. And a body definitely needs a certain amount of good fats in its food intake every day. As an athlete/runner, it becomes essential that you be discerning about the fats you eat and ensure that you get your dose of good fats in your meal.
Although most runners and fuel up on carbs and protein, fat also play an important role in their health and performance. We know that eating carbohydrates after your workout can help you replenish your glycogen stores, which will be used as a source of energy on your next run. But if you run long distances, however, your glycogen stores may not be high enough. Adding more fat to your diet can help you become a fat burner and thereby improve your performance.
Simply put, saturated fat and trans fat are not good for you. They raise your bad cholesterol levels and decrease your good cholesterol levels, and that can raise your risk for heart disease. The other types of fat – unsaturated fats are actually good for you and your heart.
There are two kinds of unsaturated fats that are good for you: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. You’ll find mono- and polyunsaturated fats in foods like olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Some studies even show that monounsaturated polyunsaturated fats can help reduce your risk of running-related injuries, like stress fractures. Together they can help raise your good cholesterol, which can reduce your risk for heart disease
Despite the fact certain fats are good for you, it’s important for you to eat them in moderation. That’s because all fats – whether unsaturated or saturated – are high in calories, and consuming too much of them can eventually lead to weight gain, and your running activities have to be in proportion to the amount of fats you consume.