What To Eat Before a Run


What you take in — and when you have it — can help enhance your running game, whether you’re a 5K-er or a long-distance runner. Discover the tricks to powering up for success.

Even if you only jog the occasional couple of miles, you’ve most likely become aware of marathoners carb-loading the night prior to a long run or race. But pasta isn’t the only food that can assist you run well, and it’s not simply endurance professional athletes who take advantage of correct fueling. What you consume prior to your run — along with throughout, and after — is crucial to assisting you feel good, get your speed, and recover rapidly.

Pre-Run Meal

It’s essential to fuel up three to 4 hours in advance, especially if you’re a runner.

Distance running includes events such as the 10-kilometer (6.2 miles), the half marathon (21 km or 13.1 miles) and the marathon (42 km or 26.2 miles).

If you’re running less than 60 — 90 minutes, a pre-run meal becomes less essential.

The pre-run meal serves two functions. One is to keep you from feeling hungry before and throughout your run, and the other is to maintain optimum levels of blood sugar level for your exercising muscles.

The meal needs to be high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in nutrients that slow digestion, mainly fat and fiber.

Make sure to drink 17 — 20 ounces (500 — 590 ml) of water with your pre-run meal to ensure you’re effectively hydrated.

Here are some examples of a pre-run meal:

  • 5 rushed egg whites and one whole egg with two pieces of white toast with jelly and a banana.
  • One cup (225 grams) of low-fat home cheese with one cup (150 grams) of blueberries and one slice of white toast with one tablespoon of honey.
  • One medium-sized white bagel with two pieces of deli turkey and mustard (if wanted) with 30 grapes.
  • One medium-sized baked potato with sour cream and 3 ounces (85 grams) of grilled chicken breast with a dinner roll.
  • One cup (200 grams) of prepared pasta with 1/2 cup (130 grams) of marinara sauce with 3 ounces (85 grams) of chicken breast and a piece of lightly buttered bread.

Foods to prevent:

  • High-fat foods: Heavy sauces and creams, fried foods or foods prepared with a lot of butter or oil.
  • High-fiber foods: Whole grains high in fiber, beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.

Pre-Run Snack

A pre-run treat taken in 30 — 60 minutes prior offers your body with quick fuel.

It’s just needed to have a pre-run snack if you plan to run for longer than 60 minutes, however it’s likewise great if you simply choose to do so despite the length of your run.

It serves the very same purpose as a pre-run meal by controlling appetite and making sure optimum blood sugar levels.

A pre-run treat consists mostly of carbs and is much lower in calories than a pre-run meal.

Keep the treat little, as working out with too much food in your stomach can lead to indigestion, queasiness and vomiting.

Sample pre-run treats include:

  • A piece of fruit, such as a banana or orange
  • Half of a sports energy bar
  • Half of an English muffin with honey or jelly
  • 15 crackers, such as crackers or pretzels
  • Half-cup of dry cereal

In addition to your pre-run snack, drink 5 — 10 ounces (150 — 295 ml) of water to keep you hydrated.

Limitation the very same foods you would in a pre-run meal, which consist of foods high in fat and fiber.

You may likewise wish to prevent dairy items, especially if you do not understand how you endure them. Dairy items are made from milk and consist of the sugar lactose.

For some individuals, taking in excessive lactose can cause stomach distress, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.

Foods high in lactose are those which contain milk, cheese, butter or cream. Yogurt is likewise a dairy item but tends to be tolerated much better considering that it’s lower in lactose.

Pre- and Intra-Run Nutrition Are Trial and Error

When it pertains to sustaining your runs, make certain to explore what works best for you.

For example, you might discover that white rice instead of a baked potato for your pre-run meal sits better on your stomach.

Or you might discover that consuming a banana for your pre-run snack does not provide you stomach cramps throughout your run whereas an apple did.

Training runs are the best time to explore different foods to see what works best for you.

Never do anything brand-new on race day that you didn’t do in practice since you risk not knowing how your body will react to that change.

For How Long After Eating a Meal Should I Wait Prior To Choosing a Run?

Everybody has various levels of comfort concerning eating around training, so it’s important to trial what works best for you. In basic, wait 2-4 hours before following a large meal. This enables time for your food to totally digest. For a treat, 1-2 hours ought to be adequate depending upon just how much you’ve consumed.
If you have fuelled appropriately at meal times by building your performance plates, typically another treat pre-training will not be needed.

As a general rule, low-GI foods are best consumed as part of your main meals while training (along with moderate quantities of protein and fat), as their energy is released more slowly into the blood stream and will supply you with sustained energy.

For lower-intensity or recovery sessions, you can reduce your carb consumption accordingly. Restricting carbohydrate intake, called ‘training low’, primes the body to use fat as the main fuel during training, and promotes favourable adaptations within the muscle (mitochondria) for endurance professional athletes. This, combined with a calorie deficit, can also cause a decrease in body fat, which is desirable for lots of people running the marathon.

The following are protein-rich options:

  • Courgette tortilla wedges with pesto & rocket
  • Crab & asparagus omelette
  • Chicken breast with avocado salad

For low-intensity sessions under an hour, the periodic fasted session is fine too, and can assist the muscles to end up being more efficient for endurance training.

Ali Gadimov
Diet Expert