It is essential to eat correctly before running in order to have enough energy and avoid stomach issues. What to eat before running depends on how long you plan to run and what you plan to eat afterward. Here are some tips on what to eat before running.
- 1 What To Eat Before Running?
- 2 What To Eat After A Run
- 3 What Are Good Snacks To Eat Before A Run?
- 4 What Are Good Snacks To Eat During A Run?
- 5 Running Without Cramps
- 6 How To Avoid Nausea When Running
- 7 What Not to Eat Before You Run Any Distance
- 8 Do Not Wait Until Race Day To Learn What To Eat Before Running
- 9 Bonus tip: Hydrate!
- 10 Conclusion
What To Eat Before Running?
Keep in mind, however, that each runner is unique. You may not find the same running tips that work for your friend. It may take some trial and error to find the right formula for you.
These are some things you can eat before you go for a run, depending on your distance and what you want to do.
What to Avoid Eating Before Running a Mile or 5k
Before going on short or intense runs, eat as little as possible.
Your fueling strategy for a shorter training session is very simple if you are lacing up. You won’t need much food, even if you have a few intervals or a quick run, to get started.
Your body will have enough energy to do the workout for less than an hour. Where does the energy come from? In this instance, glycogen is your primary fuel source. Glycogen is basically a store of sugar or glucose that is found in your liver and muscles. Your body uses this energy to power your exercise routine.
Running requires adequate glycogen stores. This is why runners need to eat high-quality complex carbs on a daily basis. We don’t recommend eating a lot of French bread or pasta. To keep your muscles energized, you should eat oats and quinoa as well as vegetables and fruits.
You can rely on your meals from the previous day, as well as what you ate for breakfast and lunch, to replenish glycogen.
If you are running first thing in the AM and want to feel full, then a banana or a few yogurt pieces might be a good option. You won’t feel full or heavy, but you will be able to keep your stomach from growing while you warm up.
What to Eat Before Running in the Morning
You might feel a bit hungry after a quick morning run, but you can eat something to fill you up.
Light and high GI will help you digest it quickly and not feel like a rock.
What to Eat Before Running a Half-Marathon
Try different recipes to find the best for medium-length runs.
You’re in a grey area for runs that last 60-90 minutes. This is where the “one-size fits all” mentality doesn’t work. Some runners may prefer to go out with a full stomach. Some runners are more likely to feel hungry halfway through their run and opt for a pre-run snack.
Another consideration is the intensity of your workout or run. You might find that the 90-minute run you are going for is less intense than the one you did a few hours ago. In this case, your last meal may be sufficient to sustain you. Simple carbs might be a good idea to maintain your energy levels if the same 90-minute run includes some hill repeats or tempo repeats.
You can make a smoothie, a banana, or some dates to go with it. Peanut butter can be added to a banana if you run quickly after getting up. A few almonds and dates can be added to make a delicious pre-run snack.
What to Eat Before Running a Marathon: Pre-run meal
Pre-fueling is essential for long runs. Here are some things to eat before you go on a long run.
There are many options available for runners to fuel their runs before starting. You’ll want to eat something before you begin any run that exceeds 90 minutes. The time you leave will influence your decision.
2 hours before the run: Avocado toast, granola, and oatmeal are all excellent options.
1 hour before the run: An energy bar or something similar should be consumed one hour before starting your run. To ensure you are properly hydrated, add 8-12 ounces to a sports drink that contains electrolytes.
30 minutes or less before your run: Stick to simple sugars. My favorites are applesauce, bananas, and dates. This can be an ideal pre-run meal boost if you have a favorite energy chew.
You’ll need to eat before and during your run. Remember the glycogen stores that we mentioned earlier? These won’t last you for the entire run, especially if it’s more than an hour. You will need to eat more calories during your run. To avoid hitting “the Wall”,
The rule of thumb is to consume 30-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour, depending on your effort. You can eat a lower amount of carbs if you keep the pace and intensity low during long runs. You might be on the higher end of your route, which involves steep climbs or pushing the pace.
The bottom line: Look for foods that are easy to digest. Avoid high-fiber or fatty foods. They can sit in your stomach for longer and are harder to digest. You want to eat a snack with a mix of simple and complex carbohydrates and some protein to make you feel fuller.
There are so many options; what’s a runner to eat before a long-distance running?
For long-distance runs, some runners prefer real food. Peanut butter pretzels and granola bars are all good options. Others prefer easy-to-digest calories like energy gels, chews, or sports drinks. The best thing for you is what works well in your stomach.
There will be days when your bag of pretzels is just not enough, and you reach for the gel packet. It is essential to know what you can use as a backup for the rest of your nutrition strategy.
Running After Eating
You should wait two hours after eating a large meal before you run. This is especially true if you eat foods that take a while to digest (such as greasy, fatty, or fried foods).
It would help if you allowed yourself to eat smaller meals. It all depends on what you choose.
What To Eat After A Run
Your goals often dictate what you eat after a run. If you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, you might choose lower-calorie options. You will need to replenish fluids, rebuild muscle fibers, and restore glycogen levels.
Light meals or snacks that contain fluids, carbohydrates, and protein are good post-run options. Energy bars are an excellent option for those who don’t have the time to cook a meal. They can be as low in carbs and high in protein. Here are some examples of foods you might like to eat:
- Bagel with nut butter
- A protein shake
- Greek yogurt mixed with a piece of fruit
Don’t forget about replenishing your fluids with water, chocolate milk, or other recovery drinks. One study in the International Society of Sports Nutrition Journal found that chocolate milk is better than sports drinks for exercise recovery.
Avoid greasy, fried, or high-fat foods. They are high in calories but low in nutrition. Although you might feel hungry, consuming high-calorie fast food could cause your body to lose all its benefits. Sugary sodas can also be a wrong choice.
What Are Good Snacks To Eat Before A Run?
A Light snack can be helpful in keeping your blood sugar levels stable and energized during a run. It will depend on when you run.
You may not have the time to eat breakfast if you are running in the morning. Your body has likely not had any food since the night before.
It’s vital that you eat a light breakfast or snack 30-60 minutes before going out. Look for foods rich in protein and carbohydrates.
These snacks are great for runners who run early in the morning.
- Banana with a tablespoon of nut butter
- Energy bar or low-fat Granola Bar
- Small yogurt and fruits
- fruit smoothie
- whole-grain bagel
Eat a healthy breakfast three to four hours before starting your run if you are running at lunchtime. Eat a snack about an hour or two before you start running.
- A bowl of oatmeal or cereal
- Half of a sandwich with nut butter
- Small smoothie
- A handful of nuts such as almonds, cashews, and pistachios are good options.
Run In the late Afternoon or Evening
- You may feel hungry and tired if you run in the evening or late afternoon.
- This is especially true if your run means you don’t plan to eat until later.
- Take a break from your afternoon run to eat the following:
- Crackers and a cheese stick
- Energy bar or low-fat Granola Bar
- Half of a jelly sandwich and nut butter
What Are Good Snacks To Eat During A Run?
For runs less than an hour, you’ll only need water or a sports beverage.
You will need to consume a form of carbohydrate for any run that lasts more than 75 minutes or for runs lasting over an hour.
You can experiment to discover what works best for your long-term goals.
On runs that last more than an hour, runners might consume half an energy gel, two energy chews, or a handful of energy beans every 30 seconds. These should be accompanied by plenty of fluids.
Running Without Cramps
Running can be affected by dehydration. This includes cramps, bloating, and stomachaches.
Drink water or a sports drink every 15-30 minutes while running. Avoid high-fiber foods the night before and on the day of your run to prevent cramps. They can cause cramping or GI problems.
How To Avoid Nausea When Running
After a hard workout, you may feel nauseous or dizzy. There are many reasons why runners may experience nausea, such as:
- slowed digestion
Drink plenty of fluids, especially during hot days, to avoid nausea when running. It would be best if you also cooled down properly after running to allow your body to adjust.
A small snack can help prevent or stop nausea by being eaten 30 minutes or less before you run.
What Not to Eat Before You Run Any Distance
There are many great suggestions for what to eat before running and similar recommendations for what not to eat.
Salsa burps are a great way to spice up spicy foods. For your post-run meal, save the hot sauce!
High-fat foods are harder to digest and more likely to stay in your stomach, causing a heavy feeling and resulting in an unpleasant sensation on the run. (Heavy sauces and creams, fried foods, or foods prepared with a lot of butter or oil.)
High-fiber foods are not a good idea now. You might regret it halfway through your run.
Do Not Wait Until Race Day To Learn What To Eat Before Running
The most important rule for race day is not to try anything new. This applies to new clothes and shoes as well as food and nutrition. You’ll know what works for your body by race day. You can choose to eat a full meal before you start a run, or you prefer to eat something beforehand. Do you know what the best answer is for you?
Your race should be in the same category as the one above. A 5k race can be considered a shorter run. On the other hand, a half-marathon will take 2+ hours and fall under the long-run category. It would be best if you ate early enough to ensure your digestive system isn’t stressed with a full belly before your race starts. This is just like what you did on your training runs.
Bonus tip: Hydrate!
Hydration is crucial for all runners, regardless of how long your training runs are, no matter how long they may be. You’ll find yourself in a challenging (pun intended) position if you don’t hydrate before you begin your run. During the run, it’s a constant battle. It’s better to stay hydrated before you put on your shoes.
It is easy to remember to drink at least 4-6 glasses of fluids before noon and 4-6 glasses afterward.
Before running, it is essential to eat something that will give you energy and help you avoid cramps. Carbohydrates are a good choice, as are sports drinks or fruit. Be sure to avoid fatty or sugary foods, which can slow you down.