Eating the right foods at the right time can make a big difference in how you feel during and after your run.
Before your run , eat a meal or snack with carbohydraits and hydrate properly. If you are running for longer than 90 minuits, consider eating carbohidrait rich snacks during your run. After your run, your body needs both protein and carbohydrates to help recover and repair. A chicken or turkey sandwich, or Greek yogurt with granola and berries are all great options. Timing is also key, so aim to eat a meal or snack 2-3 hours before your run and within 30 minutes after your run.
Let’s take a look at what to eat before, during and after a run, to improve your performance and recovery.
What to eat before running
Before a run, it is important to eat a meal or snack that will provide your body with the necessary energy to sustain your run.
When I first started to running, I did not eat beforehand. On one occasion this caused my blood sugar to become low. I felt dizzy and couldn’t carry on as I felt faint. After my friend gave me few crackers to eat and some water to drink, I felt much better. He is a qualified army medic and told me I should be eating something before going on a run.
So, what should we be eating before going on a run?
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body, so it is important to eat them before a run. Examples of pre-run meals/snacks include:
Whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana slices
Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
Oatmeal with fruit and nuts
In addition to consuming carbohydrates, it is important to hydrate properly before a run. Aim to drink at least 2 cups of water before your run.
What to eat during a run
When it comes to fueling during a run, it is generally not necessary unless you are running for longer than 90 minutes. In that case, you may want to eat carbohydrates to maintain your energy levels.
Some options for fueling during a long run include:
Seeds and nuts
It is important to try out different food options during your training runs to see what works best for you. Make sure to eat regularly throughout your run, rather than waiting until you feel tired or depleted. It is also beneficial to eat light as this prevents digestive issues that may occur.
Remember, the most important factor in fueling for a run is to eat a balanced diet. Eating nutrient-dense whole foods and eating a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat on a regular basis will provide your body with the necessary fuel for optimal performance and recovery.
What to eat after running
After a run, your body needs protein and carbohydrates to help in recovery and repair muscles.
Examples of post-run meals/snacks include:
Chicken / Turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread
Salad with veggies and chicken
Greek yogurt with granola and berries
In addition to consuming protein and carbohydrates, it is important to hydrate properly after a run.
Timing of meals/snacks
The timing of your pre- and post-run meals / snacks is also important. It is best to eat a meal or snack 2-3 hours before your run to allow for proper digestion. Avoid high-fat and high-fiber foods, as they can cause gastrointestinal distress during your run. After your run, aim to eat a meal or snack within 30 minutes to aid in recovery.
The timing of your pre- and post-run meals/snacks will also depend on the length and intensity of your run. If you are running for an hour or less, a light snack 30 minutes before your run may be sufficient. If you are running for longer than an hour, aim for a meal 2-3 hours before your run to provide sustained energy throughout your workout.
Tips for optimising performance and recovery
In addition to consuming the right foods at the right time, there are a few tips you can follow to optimise your performance and recovery:
Balance your macronutrients: Make sure to consume a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your pre- and post-run meals/snacks. This will help to provide your body with the necessary nutrients for optimal performance and recovery.
Choose nutrient-dense foods: Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods that will provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal health.
Avoid high-fat, high-fiber foods before a run: These types of foods can cause gastrointestinal distress during your run, so it is best to avoid them.
Plan ahead for post-run meals/snacks: Make sure to have a post-run meal or snack planned out and ready to go, so you don't have to worry about what to eat after your run.
Fuelling your body properly before and after a run is essential for optimal performance and recovery. By following these tips, you can perform at your best and recover faster.