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Foods 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.

Should you run on an empty stomach or should you eat something before you run? Most weight watchers run on an empty stomach if they want to lose weight and nutritionists around the world agree that lower-intensity runs can be done on an empty stomach. But for higher-intensity or long-distance runs, the body needs fuel in the form of carbs and some protein. The best foods for running include bananas, peanut butter, whole grains, oatmeal, fish, and lean meat. The most important thing, however, is to keep your body hydrated before you run.

Best Foods For Running

Choosing what to eat before a run depends on factors 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 30 to 120 minutes before the run.

Morning runners who have been starving overnight should pump up their energy by biting into a small snack about 30 minutes before heading 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 An Easy Run

  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter
  • A small bowl of cereal
  • Hummus and carrot sticks
  • A banana and a few cashews

Small Meals You Can Eat Before A Long 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

  • High-fiber foods are healthy and even recommended for runners. But avoid them before a long run as they may cause cramping, gas, and even diarrhea. Examples of such food are vegetables like broccoli and onion and fruits like apples, pears, and melons.
  • Fried foods contain a lot of fat and take a long time to digest. They may also lead to gastrointestinal distress.
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee or other soft drinks are diuretics and can cause bowel movements and stomach issues while running.
  • Spicy food 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, rebuild glycogen, and repair muscles. 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. These release energy faster.
  • 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 yogurt also aid nutrient replenishment.
  • 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.