What to eat before running
15th August 2018
The hardest part of running or preparing for a run is often just getting off the couch but is there anything you can do to make it easier to get out there and to stick it out once you do get going?
Fuelling your body in the right way means you have the energy you need to get going, the hydration needed to help avoid fatigue and the protein you need to help recover ready for the next session.
How should you fuel your body before running?
Main meal: Although you can train on an empty stomach, it is a lot harder to keep going. You are more likely to give up or miss your targets for that session. In saying that, it is best to leave around 2 hours between a main meal and a running session. A light, low fat, breakfast 30-60 minutes before a run will be okay for most people. Avoid very high-fat foods as they can take up to 4 hours to leave your stomach. Lower fat foods will move through faster and so you are less likely to get cramps or abdominal discomfort.
Pre-Training snack: Eat something about 30 minutes before you train. Include some carbs and a little protein here: Try a slice of wholegrain bread with a little nut butter; a protein bar and a banana; a piece of fruit and some Greek Yoghurt; tuna with crackers; or rice cakes with a little cheese.
Hydration: Nothing slows you down like being dehydrated. It is the quick route to fatigue and to giving up and going home early. Not only does overall performance improve when you’re properly hydrated but you actually get to enjoy your training session more. Try to stay hydrated by getting at least 2 litres of water in every day – even on days you don’t train. Then, drink about 300-500mls of water about 1 hour before training and the same again about 30 minutes before you go. Remember to top up your water every 15-20 minutes while you run.
You’ve finished your run so what next?
Get the best from your running session by adding in some protein and some carbs soon after finishing. There is a 30-minute window where your body will really store up fuel and enhance muscle building if you supply it with the right nutrients. Protein is a key nutrient here so aim to have a protein snack once you’ve finished. A protein bar, a hard-boiled egg, a tin of tuna or a handful of nuts will give you protein as well as a range of other valuable nutrients. Add a carb with some crackers, a slice of bread or some fruit.
Now you are prepped and ready to go again for tomorrow!
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