Food For Runners

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What to eat before running

We, runners, enjoy chatting about food! What to eat while running and how to get your energy back after running. Is there anything to do before the race? Before leaving the house, you may improve your nutrition and refuel with easy tactics. 

These suggestions reduce your chance of experiencing GI problems or bonking midway through your run. This article will guide you on what to eat before running. It will also let you know what to avoid if you’re going to be out for a long run.

Running Training
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What to eat before running

The optimal pre-run snack is simple to digest and gives you immediate energy. Carbs are excellent, as glucose is the body’s primary energy source during running. Glucose enters the bloodstream and gets used immediately. 

It sometimes gets stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. While a small amount of fat and protein can give you some endurance, most of your pre-run food should be carbs. If possible, choose whole foods as opposed to energy bars and gels. Some preferred pre-run snacks are:

  • Whole-wheat bread with turkey and cheese
  • Almond and banana butter
  • Berry and oatmeal
  • Berry and oatmeal carrots and a cheese stick
  • Toast with a quarter of an avocado or 1 to 2 tbsps of peanut butter
Health Food
Source: Unsplash.com / Zlatko Đurić

When to eat before running

The optimal pre-run meal is between 300 and 400 calories. You should eat it two hours before your run. Even if you’re going far, it’s better to refuel in the middle of your run than to load up excessively before. 

If you’ve had a large dinner, you might have to wait about 4 hours before going for a jog, but if you’ve had a little snack, 30 minutes should suffice. The precise amount you should eat depends on your body and exercise regimen. Aim for 15 grams of carbohydrates for a short, easy run. 

Most people can complete a 3-mile run without eating beforehand. The three miles, though, can be easier to complete if you eat a little carbohydrate snack, such as a piece of fruit. Choose 30 grams of carbs if you’re exercising longer or harder. 

You should consume between 50 and 75 grams before a marathon. Your glycogen levels will drain after 75 minutes, so carry mid-run fuel. For each hour you plan to spend, eat 30 to 60 grams of carbs with more electrolytes and drinks.

What foods to avoid before running

Before hitting the road or a trail, you need to avoid foods high in protein, fiber, and fat. Eating too much protein or fat before a run can make you tired or crampy. It’s because your body will use more energy to digest than move. 

They take time to digest and pass through your body fully. High-fiber foods can induce GI irritation and cramps. Even if you don’t mind a cup of tea or coffee before a long run, know that excessive caffeine consumption increases heart rate, stomach cramps, and frequent toilet breaks. Before a run, some foods may be difficult to digest:

  • Artichokes, broccoli, or other fibrous vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Red meat, bacon, cheese, and other high-fiber foods
  • Apples, pears, or other fruits high in fiber
  • Spicy foods
  • Excess caffeine

Should I eat the same meals for all my runs?

For beginner runners, the most crucial question is what to eat before running. Depending on your training and objectives, your body needs different food. The most crucial thing is to change your fuel depending on the day’s workout demands. It won’t be the same every day.

Your muscles store carbs as glycogen. Glycogen is the primary energy source needed during more demanding workouts and runs. Since you can only store a small amount of carbs, it’s crucial to maintain your supply.

The body uses fat as its primary energy source when you do low-intensity activities. Adding carbs to your lunch or snack isn’t necessary. Carbs are not as important as they used to be before working out.

Planning which sessions call for carbohydrate fuel is crucial. Discover more advice for low and high-intensity training days, including recipes.

What should you eat after running?

Post-workout nutrition may be important to recovery and muscular growth. In comparison to pre-workout meals, post-workout meals have slightly different content. Post-workout meals should consist primarily of protein to increase muscle protein synthesis. 

You can also add small carbs to restore glycogen stores and little to no fat. Fat can inhibit digestion and cause poorer uptake of other nutrients. Your fitness goals will determine when you should eat. 

If you want to gain weight, you should eat within 15 to 20 minutes. But, if your objective is to maintain or reduce weight, you should wait 45 to 60 minutes before eating. Try chocolate milk or a protein bar as nutritious post-workout snacks. They are all excellent post-run options to replenish and recoup.

Water intake is also crucial. You should hydrate before, after, and throughout your workout. Dehydration can result in decreased performance, cramps, discomfort, and heat exhaustion.

You should consider your perspiration rate after your run. Also, consider how much fluid you have lost after rigorous activity. You should weigh yourself before and after your workouts to keep track of your progress. 

You must consume 16 to 24oz of liquids for every pound lost. Have an electrolyte drink to recharge muscles if you exercise for longer than two hours.

Hire experts if you want to perform at your best. You should consult a certified dietician or other trained healthcare practitioners. They will give you personalized recommendations on how to improve your overall health.

Conclusion

You need to carefully consider what to eat before running. Long-distance runners should have carbohydrates and modest protein three to four hours before running. Eat a small, high-carb snack 30 to 60 minutes before a run. 

Refuel with sports drinks during runs that last longer than 90 minutes. Reduce fat and fiber consumption at pre-run meals and snacks to give your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients. During training runs, it’s crucial to try various foods and beverages. With that, you can determine what feeding method suits you the best.

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