Just wondering if there are particular foods I should definitely eat before running and if there are some I should avoid like the....swine flu. I want to make sure I have enough energy, but there are times when I'll get an upset stomach as I run. Your advice is much appreciated!
(Also, is there a general rule of thumb for how much time before a run a person shouldn't eat?)
Thank you for the great responses so far! This totally helps! and what's up with grapes being so hard on the stomach??
To follow up and be more specific...I'm just getting back into running and not trying anything to fancy yet. Typically, I run in the afternoon, before dinner, about 2-4 miles, 8.5 min/mile on "fast" days and 10 min/miles on slower days.
I'm going to start experimenting with all of your advice in mind!
It's going to vary from person to person. Ideally you want carbs (sugars and salts can also be good) before a run...things that will give you energy. This is something that you'll have to experiment with during your training.
I personally avoid grapes as they always seem to make me feel weird when i run. I also stay away from milk and oj before a hard workout/short race as they are mucus inducers and can (and have for me) cause an upset stomach.
Agree with Matthew, depends on how long, at what pace and where you are running. I only run 2-3 miles at a time, so nothing for me is great. When I do 5k races, I typically eat a half bowl of oatmeal and a lot of water, sometimes a half cup of OJ (for the sugar) 90 minutes before the race. I'm not an eat first thing in the morning person normally, but I find that forcing myself to eat when I wake up on race day helps calm any jitters prior to the start - then I enjoy the nomz that are provided after the race.
Typically after work I just change, chug some water and go run, make a protein shake after the run to help the muscles and then eat dinner 20-30 minutes later.
If you are running the miles Matthew or Kelly throw down on any given day, your food plays a MUCH larger role in your running.
Super burritos, and extra spicy hot wings. I'll spare the details.
It all depends what you're training for. If you're running shorter races, eat a few hours before you run and stick to something that is easy on the stomach ( no grease, lactose free, etc).
If you're running longer races, stock the calories before you start. It's only harder to eat after you start running. Train with the foods you race with. There are plenty of performance foods out there, not all of them work well with your stomach, so do some testing.
As has already been said, it really depends on a number of different things such as when you're running, what kind of run you're embarking on (tempo, progressives, l/d, etc.) and for how long. I am a morning runner so I typically run on a relatively empty stomach which always works better for me b/c I rarely have digestion issues. If I'm going to run a distance longer then 10 miles I will usually have a granola bar about 20 mins before I head out as well as take some GU's during my run. I also make sure to steer clear or certain foods the night before a long distance run (again over 10) and/or race. Typically these foods include things very rich in spices (curry!), dairy (yogurt, ice cream, etc) or fiber (no more then a half a cup of vegetables - I usually go for spinach because that's never caused an issue for me.) My typical 'pre-race' dinner is usually something along the lines of some kind of grilled tofu, some steamed spinach over couscous and a whole wheat roll with some peanut butter. I have eaten this before my last 5 races and it's never done me wrong. You may have to do some experimenting to see what works for you but if you just remember to steer clear of the obvious (junk food, meals high in saturated fats, etc.) you should be fine.
If I need some energy right before a run I usually eat a banana (or a GU). For afternoon runs or evening runs I like to have a snack an 90 mins to one hour before I run, different people can handle different things, I stay away from apples.
Otherwise I would say continue to eat balanced meals that contain a little more protein than the non-runner.
Although I don't think there are particular foods you should eat before you run, after running (within 30 mins) I would say make sure you eat and eat food that has about a 4:1 of carbs:protein. Example foods include: chocolate milk, yogurt, half bagel with peanut butter. This will help your muscle recover faster and make your legs feel less like jello/logs ;)
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