Running is a popular form of exercise, but did you know that what you eat can greatly affect your performance? Eating certain foods before a run can provide you with the necessary energy and nutrients to fuel your run, while eating the wrong foods can lead to gastrointestinal issues, commonly referred to as a “poop-free” run. In this article, we explore the best foods to eat before a run and the foods to avoid to improve your running performance.
What to Eat Before a Run
Before a run, it’s important to fuel your body with the right nutrients. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the body, so it’s important to eat carbs before a run. Good sources of carbohydrates include pasta, rice, potatoes, whole grain foods, and fruits. These foods provide a steady release of energy, allowing you to maintain your pace throughout your run.
Protein is also important before a run. Protein helps repair and build muscle tissue. Good sources of protein include chicken, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts. It’s important to not eat too much protein before a run as it can take longer to digest, leading to stomach discomfort during your run.
When to Eat Before a Run
Timing is also important when it comes to eating before a run. It’s best to eat a meal or snack that is high in carbohydrates and low in fat and fiber at least 1-2 hours before your run. This allows your body enough time to digest the food and for the nutrients to be available for energy during your run. If you’re short on time, a small carbohydrate-rich snack such as a banana or a granola bar can also provide a quick burst of energy.
What to Eat During a Run
If you’re planning a long-distance run, it’s important to fuel your body during the run as well. Sports drinks and gels are great options as they provide the necessary carbohydrates and electrolytes to keep you hydrated and energized during your run. Aim to consume 60 grams of simple carbs, like sports gels or pureed fruit, for every hour of running.
What to Eat After a Run
After a run, it’s important to refuel your body with nutrients to aid in muscle recovery. Aim to eat a meal with 20 grams of protein and some carbohydrates within one to two hours after your run. Good options include a turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, grilled chicken with quinoa and vegetables, or a smoothie with Greek yogurt and fruit.
Foods to Avoid Before a Run
Now that we’ve covered the best foods to eat before a run, let’s dive into the foods to avoid. High-fat and high-fiber foods, such as greasy burgers, cheese, fried foods, and beans, can lead to digestive issues during your run. It’s also important to avoid sugary foods like candy and soda, as they provide a quick burst of energy but ultimately lead to a crash in energy levels halfway through your run.
In conclusion, fueling your body with the right nutrients before a run can greatly improve your performance. Stick to carbohydrate-rich foods and some protein to provide the necessary energy and nutrients to fuel your run. And remember to avoid high-fat, high-fiber, and sugary foods to prevent digestive issues during your run. Happy running!