Skip to content

This One Thing Will Improve A Runner's Performance Big Time

Take your running game to the next level.

If you're a runner, you're likely constantly on the lookout for ways to improve your speed, endurance, and overall performance. As with most fitness routines and weight loss journies, it's easy for results to plateau. Well, listen up, because there's one thing to add to your cardio routine that will kick up your skills big time. Read on to learn more about this one thing that will improve a runner's performance, and next, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

Tips on taking your running routine to the next level

runner warms up and stretches before a run, sunny day

There are many steps you can implement to enhance your running routine. For instance, running more miles each week and counting your strides are two ways you may improve your speed. Training uphill will help you run faster, too. Another secret is to improve your form. By developing a better posture when you stride, your body will move easier and you won't have to exert yourself as much.

Related: The Best Ways To Increase Your Visceral Fat Burn While Running, Trainer Says

This is the one food that's chock-full of benefits for runners

female runner sits on grass while eating berries with oatmeal

Another area that should be addressed when kicking things up a notch is what and how much you eat. Studies have proven that more nutritious food choices can up your speed. Your body needs a good daily dose of protein in order to build muscle. But the one food that has extraordinary benefits and can improve a runner's performance? Berries. You heard that right! Raspberries, cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and acai are chock-full of nutritional value, are considered extremely beneficial for your running performance, and are one of the best food types you can possibly eat.

Berries work wonders when it comes to your mood, mobility, and reducing muscle soreness

Holding a bunch of blueberries

We spoke with Stanford Medicine-certified nutritionist Melissa Pfeister, founder of the health and wellness brand Stripped with Melissa, about just how beneficial berries are to runners. She tells Eat This, Not That!, "Berries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and low in calories. Berries are also a heart-healthy food good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and regulating your heart rate."

It's safe to say, berries provide overall brain and body goodness. They are anti-inflammatory, and the colorful natural sweets work wonders when it comes to your mood, mobility, and muscle soreness. A previous study revealed that blueberries, specifically, can lessen inflammation after a group of runners performed intense exercise. The muscle biopsies proved just how special these little berries are, as they reduce muscle soreness.

Oh, and if you haven't heard of haskap berries (also known as honeyberries) before, they should be on your radar. A study performed by Northumbria University revealed these berries can seriously enhance the performance of endurance runners (via Men's Health). Glyn Howatson, Professor in Human and Applied Physiology at Northumbria University noted, "These powerful little berries appear to help runners perform better during fatiguing tasks, and increasing running speed over a commonly run distance of five km."

Pfeister also explains, "Haksap berries are full of antioxidants, but for runners specifically, they help with inflammation and are a good source of potassium, which keeps those muscles working and keeps you nice and hydrated!"

Related: Over 40? These 5 Cardio Habits For Weight Loss Are Key, Trainer Says

Most people in the U.S. don't consume enough fiber—but berries can fix that

overnight oats with chia seeds, blueberries, and walnuts

According to the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), 2021 data reveals most people in the U.S. (a whopping 93%) are guilty of not consuming enough fiber, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is vital for proper nutrition, in that it supports your heart, helps with digestion, and reduces any chance of developing chronic diseases.

In general, Mayo Clinic recommends that men consume 30 to 38 grams of fiber each day, and women should consume a minimum of 21 to 25 grams. They stress how a diet that's high in fiber can lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. How can you get more fiber? You guessed it—from berries!

Berries are filled with goodness for your overall health. According to the USDA, 1 cup of raspberries provides 2 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber. Blackberries contain 2 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Blueberries? They have 1 gram of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Strawberries (halved) boast 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Cranberries will give you .5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.

How you can add berries to your day-to-day routine

greek yogurt and strawberry parfait

Now that you know the one thing that can improve a runner's performance, it's time to get started incorporating it into your day-to-day. Pfeister suggests, "There are so many ways you can easily add these tasty and healthy fruits into your diet! You can add [them] as a topping to your yogurt or cereal, mix them into your favorite smoothie, throw [them] onto a salad, or my favorite, adding into my oatmeal with some cinnamon on top!"

She also stresses that everyone—not just runners—enjoy a big ol' bowl of berries.
"Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat including blueberries known as a 'superfood,'" Pfeister says, adding, "We ALL need a strong body and heart, so grab a bowel of the magical fruit and have a berry-licious day!"

So whether you're adding a healthy variety of berries to your fiber cereal for breakfast, whipping up a daily smoothie recipe, or having a variety of them for snacks just by themselves, enjoy your daily health boost before your next run!

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
Filed Under