We all know not to go swimming directly after eating, but when it comes to running, what is best? Food is fuel, but sometimes food choices can work against you, especially if you have a hard training session planned.
As Coach Sarah says “a bit of planning needs to go into what you eat and how long before your run.”
Your choice of a pre-run meal is important and can be fraught with hurdles if you choose incorrectly. An easy way to approach it is to choose something high in carbohydrates (e.g. a bagel with peanut butter, or a banana and energy bar), and aim to eat about one and a half to two hours before you start running, or a small snack 30 minutes to an hour before running.
You want to avoid dairy and items that are high in fibre and fat. These items have a range of drawbacks, for example, food with dairy need extra time to digest and high fibre meals can make you dash for the bathroom when you don’t want to.
It’s also best to avoid running on an empty stomach, so even if it’s first thing in the morning, aim to have a single piece of toast or half an energy bar before heading out. Also if your stomach is sensitive, save the coffee for after the run.
MAKE A POST-RUN SNACK
First and foremost, make sure you replace your lost fluids. After years of research and product development, water is still the best option, so make sure you keep up your intake throughout the day.
Our coaches recommend having something ready for your return. This helps make sure you refuel your body with healthy options and will help you avoid grabbing a bar of chocolate or a drive-through burger on the way home. Good post-run options include snacks or light meals containing fluids, carbohydrates, and protein, such as a bagel with nut butter, a protein shake, or Greek yogurt with a piece of fruit.