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Food For Running: What To Eat Before And After

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Food To Eat Before And After A Run

Eat a simple carb and protein combo, like a banana and a few cashews 1 hr before an easy run and a bowl of oatmeal with fruits and nuts 2 hrs before a long, intense run. Skip high-fiber, fatty, or spicy foods. Stay well-hydrated, but not with coffee or soft drinks. As you cool off after a run, rebuild your glycogen with chocolate milk. It has vitamins and carbs and protein in the required ratio of 3:1.

Nutritionists around the world agree upon the fact that lower intensity runs can be done on an empty stomach, but the body needs some fuel in the form of carbs while shifting gears to higher intensity. The most important thing is to keep your body hydrated before you run.

Choosing what to eat before a run depends on many things, like:

  • the time of the day you are running
  • the duration of your run
  • the intensity of your run
  • the time you ate your last meal
  • the time left for you to start running

Typically for an easy run, a small snack eaten an hour before the run should keep you from starving and give you the needed energy. For longer and more intense runs, have a medium-sized snack or a small meal half an hour to 120 minutes before the run. This might change in the case of morning runners who have been starving overnight. Pump up your energy by biting into a small snack about 30 minutes before you head out for the run. Avoid fatty or high-fiber food and eat food that can be easily digested. Look for simple carbs or a blend of simple and complex carbs with some protein to keep you feeling full.

Snacks You Can Eat Before The Run

  • Wholewheat toast with peanut butter
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Hummus and carrot sticks
  • Banana and a few cashews

Small Meals You Can Eat Before The Run

  • Oatmeal with fruits and nuts
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Grilled fish and avocado wrap
  • Quinoa and chickpea wrap

Food To Avoid Before The Run

  • Avoid high-fiber food, like some fruits, vegetables and legumes before a long run. Fibrous food is healthy (they clear out your gastro-intestinal tract) and sometimes even recommended for runners, but having them just before the run may cause cramping, gas and even diarrhoea. Some examples of such food are vegetables like broccoli, onion and fruits like apples, pears and melons.
  • Fried food contain a lot of fat and take a long time to digest and may lead to gastrointestinal distress.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee or other soft drinks as they are diuretics and can cause bowel movements and stomach issues while running.
  • Also, stay away from spicy food as it can cause indigestion and heartburn.

What To Eat After A Run

Eating after your run is primarily one of the ways to help your body replenish the lost energy and to rebuild glycogen. So stick to a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein.

  • Eat high-glycemic index food like potatoes, pasta, bread or rice to refuel your muscles.
  • Pair one of the above with a protein like lean white meat, fish or egg.
  • Fruit smoothies made by pairing fruits like berries, mangoes and banana with yoghurt also aid nutrient replacement.
  • Chocolate milk is also a great recovery drink as it provides protein, carbohydrates and vitamin B.

Include these simple things in your diet and see the changes they bring to your performance on the track.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.

CureJoy Editorial

The CureJoy Editorial team digs up credible information from multiple sources, both academic and experiential, to stitch a holistic health perspective on topics that pique our readers' interest.