Running is very important as it increases your metabolism throughout the day. This aids in weight loss and keeping you fit as well. Going for a run is also very crucial before starting your main workout session as it creates the right mood for your body to get started. However, before going for a run it is important to ensure your body is sufficiently fueled so that you can have the energy to start and also finish strong. If running for an hour or less, you can comfortably go on an empty stomach, however, if doing it for more hours ensure you bite on something so that you don’t tire early in the process. Well, there is no default meal to be taken before a run as our nutritional demands vary from person to person. However, below are guidelines on different nutritional demands and timing that will help you determine your perfect pre-run meals:
• Timing your pre-run meals
Running immediately after having a meal brings with it different stomach issues and cramping. Therefore, it is important to learn your body and how long you can comfortably run after a meal and experience no stomach issues. Personally, it takes 2 hours for me to be on my feet after a meal, for others it takes only 30 minutes. It is crucial to conduct an experiment on yourself to see what works best for your body. For the amateurs, try eating 90 minutes before a run first. With time go on reducing the time threshold to one you are most comfortable before your pre-run. Remember the harder you want to run the further away should your meals be and vice versa.
• Determine the nutritional demands of your run
Naturally your body stores enough glycogen in the muscles, from your normal everyday diet. This can comfortably allow anyone to run at marathon pace for 2 hours without any additional meals, and about 700 calories will be burnt. Therefore you don’t have to stack up on carbohydrates and calories before a run, in fact a light snack will do. There are different nutritional demands depending on the type of run you are going for:
Long Runs and Harder Workouts
If going for a long run, one of over 90 minutes, it is crucial to snack on something so as to have that extra fuel. For this type of exercise having a medium- sized snack at least 30 – 120 minutes before running is important.
Normal Easy Training Run
If going for an easy training run of less than 90 minutes, your body can comfortably do it even on an empty stomach and still burn calories. However, just to ensure you have the energy needed throughout, you can have a small sized snack 30- 90 minutes before stepping out to give you the boost needed.
For morning runners, you don’t have to worry much as your body can comfortably handle the exercise on an empty stomach. However if you have schedules for a long run a light snack 30 minutes before the run will do.
What To Eat Before A Run
Find a food that sits well in your stomach
Get a meal that is easily compatible with your digestive system, you don’t need a meal that will sit in your stomach for hours as it may cause stomach issues as you run. Therefore go for easily digestible meals and avoid fatty or high fiber foods. Here are some ideas to help you:
• Bananas; they are a good source of potassium and high in carbs.
• Energy bars; they are easy to digest and light in the stomach.
• Small amounts of oatmeal- Oatmeal has high levels of fiber, however it is a great option for runners who eat 90-120 minutes before a pre-run as it will still sustain them.
• Yoghurt and granola; This is an great idea to stack on simple complex carbs.
• Toast with peanut butter and jell; Toast is light on the stomach and very easy to digest.
• Wheat bagel with peanut butter/cream cheese; A good option to keep your hunger at bay.
Getting your perfect pre-run meals may not be easy at first, try experimenting with different ideas to get your perfect fit according to your body’s nutritional needs. Remember meals are individualized and what may work for someone else might not work the same for you. Fueling properly will give you the required energy to go with your running routines comfortably and you will soon start seeing results. All the best!