What to Eat Before Running?
Do you often wondering what you should eat before and after a running or workout? You may ask whether it's necessary to eat at all? This is an important question to ask because proper fuel can make a huge difference in your energy level, mood, and results and greatly influence how likely you are to work out again. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. One thing you should know, however, is that the food you put in your body before your running can definitely affect how you feel and whether or not you meet your workout goals. Here are some guidelines on how to fuel your run with the right meals and snacks.
What to eat before running?
What you eat before running should be easily digested and supplies energy for your run. Therefore, it should be high in carbohydrates. Carbs are your body’s main fuel source because they are quickly turned into energy.
There are two types of carbs that you need to differentiate between complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.
The difference is that complex carbohydrates provide longer-lasting energy but they cost longer time to be digested than simple carbohydrates. Just as the name implies, simple carbs can be broken down more quickly but don’t last as long.
Totally, consuming complex carbohydrates is the better choice if you allow your body enough time to fully digest before a workout. Here are some tips on complex and simple carbohydrates:
1) Complex carbohydrates
- whole-wheat (bread, pasta, flour)
- whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice)
- legumes (black beans, lentils, chickpeas)
- starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas)
2) Simple carbohydrates
- processed foods (pastries, cookies, candy)
- dairy products (ice cream, chocolate)
In addition to high carbs, a pre-running meal should be moderate in protein and low in fat.
They support muscles and serve as a backup energy source when you burn carbs out. Here is a proportion of carbs, protein, and fat for your information: eat 60% carbs, 30% lean proteins, followed by 10% quality fats. If you want to add proteins and fats, consider these options:
1) Protein sources
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
- Fish (tuna, salmon)
2) Healthy fats
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, peanuts)
- Seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
In the same way, poor nutrition before running will have a negative impact on your performance.
Avoid foods that are high in fat and fiber, especially saturated fats. While some fats can be healthy in moderation and an essential part of a balanced diet, not all fats are created equal.
Saturated fats are harder to be broken down by our bodies. High amounts of them before a run or workout can trigger digestive distress and make you feel sluggish.
Likewise, high fiber foods have a lot of health benefits. Unfortunately, however, they are hard to digest. While they are generally good for you, high fibers will prevent peak performance. Here are the specific foods that you should pay attention to:
1) Saturated fats
2) High fiber foods
You may still have one question left: how long before your run should you eat? It’s the combination of what and when that contributes to a successful run. The answer to this question would vary from person.
There are some guidelines you should follow if you’re still figuring out the best time to eat before your run.
As we have discussed, your body will spend too much energy on digestion instead of running. So it is important to allow your body to digest first. If you are new to running, this can be a general rule of thumb for you to start:
- Large meal: 3-4 hours before a run
- Smaller meal: 2-3 hours before a run
- Snack: 30-60 minutes before a run
Moreover, you can always adjust your schedule according to your situation. If you’re feeling good, you can stick with the time or try to move the meal a little closer to your run.
Whenever you feel any discomfort or lack of energy, slightly increase the time between meal and workout. There is a saying that eating in moderation works efficiently than a workout. So get this eating guideline and pick up MIER RUNNING SERIES, ready to burn your calories!