The MOST IMPORTANT thing you will ever need as a runner, is air. Seems like a no duh, huh? That's what I thought at first too. But over time, I came to realize that it's very true. Just think about it. How long can a human being live without air. 5-7 minutes. Not very long, is it? Developing strong lungs is a good trait for a runner to have. Also, on long distance runs, you should have a slow and steady breathing pace, not a fast and rapid one.
Alright, ready for the second one? Dihydrogen monoxide. It's a chemical. Very dangerous actually. It's called water. Water is very important to a runner. Not as important as air, but still really important. A human can last about a week without water. That's a lot longer than without air right? But when you are running, you are sweating out all of the water in your system, in order to cool yourself down. So when you are running without sweating, you aren't going to cool down are you? Also, water allows you to perform at the peak of your performance.
Do you know how much water a runner really should be drinking a day? A normal person, who doesn't exercise, should be drinking about a gallon a day. So, if your doing twice the work, you should be drinking two gallons a day. If you know how much two gallons is, your thinking: "HOW THE FREAK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THAT?" Trust me, you won't do it on the first day. For now, just practice drinking periodically through the day. One way to know if you're hydrated or not is the color of your urine. If it is clear or light green/yellow, then you're hydrated. If it's darker, drink more water! It takes about half an hour to an hour before it digests, so don't chug right before a race or practice!
Remember that second grade phrase: "First the worst, second the best, third the nerd"? Yeah, well that doesn't apply here. Anyways, your third most important thing is food. A human could last for about a month without food, depending on how much fat they already have on them. Food gives you energy, which you need to move your feet. Eating a pizza right before you run probably isn't the best thing you could do though. Sorry to get your hopes up. Foods high in protien and carbohydrates are the best for you. Noodles have a TON of carbs in them, so runners do a thing called Carb Loading. About three days before a big race, (It takes about three days for the noodles to break down.) runners eat a bunch of noodles, such as macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and ravioli. They stay away from meals in a can, as those don't have such a high carb number and aren't as good for you as the kind you personally boil.
Are you smarter than a second grader? Because if you didn't get those right, then your not. Obviously, we need air first. You don't really think about that much do you? Your brain just kind of automated that process for you. Water is the second most important thing because it keeps you functioning at tip-top shape. And in tip-top shape, you need energy to perform with right? That's where the food comes in. Noo-trish-un. Also known as nutrition. Now go breath some air or something okay?