What To Eat Before A Long Run
You know how it goes. We are what we eat and if you want your body to work you have to fill it fuel. So if you want your body to run further and faster for longer, you need to be thinking premium when you choose which food to put into your body.
It is great to enjoy running as part of your healthy lifestyle and it feels good to maintain that level of discipline in your life. If you run at longer distances such as 10k and half or full marathons, you need a lot of prep work so to keep your carbohydrate intake up so as to not lose strength and stamina over the duration of your run.
How Does Pre-Run Meal Help?
A pre-run meal keeps you charged throughout the run so that you don’t feel hungry or tired but instead delivers the optimum amounts sugars to converted from the carbs that can be used as energy for the muscles.
However, you should choose this meal carefully so it is high in carbohydrates, medium in protein and low in fiber and fat. For instance, you can take:
- 5 or 6 egg whites lightly scrambled with one boiled egg and toast followed by a banana.
- A cup of cottage cheese with low fat along with a handful of blueberries and white toast topped with pure honey.
- A medium white bagel and 2 hearty slices of deli turkey and about 30 grapes.
- A cup of pasta with marinara sauce and 85 grams of chicken breast with a slice of bread and butter.
If you are planning on exerting yourself on a run of half an hour or longer you should definitely stock up with a pre run snack around 30 minutes before you set off. It will stave off hunger pangs as you burn off calories as energy and boost sugar levels so you have extra to draw from. Aim for a pre-run snack with high carbs yet less calories than pre-run meal.
An ideal snack will be light yet filling. If you fill your stomach too much with heavy food you may feel nauseated and even vomit and won’t be able to run. You can continue with water and juices to stay hydrated but if you also need something more choose light healthy options to munch through during your run.
Food For Energy While Running
1. Sip In Between
This is very important. Take plenty of water with you and make sure you drink it to keep yourself hydrated. The body needs water to digest, so if you want to get maximum results from your pre run snacks and meals at least every 10 minutes take a few sips. Switch up to liquids with electrolytes in hot weather to replenish your body with electrolytes lost during sweating. This will help keep up your energy levels.
2. Coconut Water
Nothing beats refreshing coconut water. One cup (about 50 calories) can give you 9g of carbs, and a lot of potassium with alls its health benefits. Enjoy coconut water with a pinch of sea salt to maintain your BP at normal level.
When you start running, you are fully charged but after 45-60 minutes energy levels come down then you need of about 15 g of carbohydrates for every extra 15 minutes of exertion. For quick energy gain at this low point, have some light ready to eat snacks that won’t give you stomach problems. Something with electrolytes and salt like lemon juice would be an ideal energy boost for you.
4. Homemade Ade
One part of fresh, home-made orange juice combined with an equal amount of water performs the needed magic on your energy levels. It also provides the required amount of potassium. If you add salt, you will also get the sodium your body needs for effective energy use.
Honey is one of the best natural foods that you can have. It has both fructose and glucose that most energy drinks have. Both of these sugars provide instant energy. Have honey packs handy and full of energy in 12g portions or straws with 4g carbs each.
6. Salted Pretzels
Bear in mind that sodium is vital and it is essential to replenish this salt and other essential salts whilst running. Pretzels are not over-processed and are portable, tasty and light. They are a reasonable alternative to the usual fruits and nuts but consider them a treat.
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index and therefore release energy slowly. You stay feeling fuller for longer with less bulk and get the energy and powerful antioxidants associated with this sweet vegetable.
8. Red Grapefruit
The sugars from red grapefruit go straight into your stomach and are healthy as well. The collection of natural sugars and nutrients in grapefruit also speed up your metabolism.
Yes, oranges are rich in Vitamin C and sugars so they do give you instant energy and hydrate you. With a glycemic index of 40, you can get more awesome benefits from eating this fruit than sticking to drinking the juice.
10. White Rice
Rice has long been known to be high carbs and consequently a high glycemic index. It is great to have rice in small portions to keep you energized and light.
11. Chia Seeds
Packed with nutrients of all kinds, chia seeds are a rich ocean of fiber, omega 3s and protein.
This is an alga that offers electrolytes, concentrated protein and nitrates aplenty. A super food packed with nutrients, this could be one of your ideal choices for a light pre-run snack.
13. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a special type of honey that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels and yet packs a punch and provides all the necessary energy. It also helps build immunity and has numerous health benefits when consumed regularly.
For an intense workout, your body needs to be properly hydrated and stocked with electrolytes. Having heavy foods do not help but rather have the potential to cause distress that interrupts your running regime.
Don’t Have These Foods Before The Run
Legumes are great for protein and fiber. However, they should be a no-no before the run. Because of high protein content, legumes can lead to gas problems and stomach distress and being high in fiber, you might want to go to the loo more than once!
2. White Sugar
Carbs are sugar and a source of instant energy. However, white sugar is processed which does your body more harm than good. Same for cereals. Sugary cereals may provide instant energy, but it won’t last and get you through the exertion of a run. Instead have oats or quinoa.
3. Protein Bars
Contrary to the myth that protein bars are good for health, they contain a lot of refined sugar, which means they are not. It is better to have some home-made snacks, like homemade granola bars where you can sweeten the bars using a healthier alternative such as honey.
4. Spicy Foods
When you are on a strict regime, avoiding spicy food is the first thing you should do. They do boost your metabolism but it’s not worth the side effects such as heartburn, stomachache and digestive distress.
5. Sports Drinks
We all believe that sports drinks are healthy because they are often marketed that way, but they are not. Some are packed with processed sugars. You can make your own drinks with all-natural ingredients and no added sugars. If you cannot, stick to plain water unless you are planning for a run that lasts for more than an hour.
When you are working up to being a serious runner who can keep up the pace to the end of run you need to focus on your diet to make sure your body gets optimal fuel. Don’t expect your prep to be in the gym. It’ll be going around the markets and preparing the good stuff in your own kitchen. If you are looking for that energy boost that gets you there first, go for the natural carbs with a slow energy release and back it all up with fruit and honey to provide a quick lift. Then giving processed sugars a sharp swerve and make up your protein bars with a healthy handful of chia seeds. You’ll soon see results as your body works harder for longer getting you further when you head out on your run.