What to Eat Before & After Your Run
What you eat and when you eat is incredibly important before you head out for your run. You don’t want to start off too full or too empty. The main goal of your pre-run snack or meal is to keep your blood sugar from dropping and to feed those working muscles. One thing I will say though, is that one size does not fit all. What will work for one runner will not necessarily work for another runner. There are many variables. The suggestions below are some general guide lines, but have worked for many runners. (Experiment and find what works best for you!)
So, how long should you eat before your run? This is one mistake new runners often make.With pre-run fuel is timing is crucial. Here is what we suggest:
3-4 hours for a full meal to digest.
Example: Burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken, lettuce, tomato and guacamole.
2-3 hours for a small meal to digest.
Example: Turkey sandwich and orange slices
1-2 hours for a small snack or smoothie to digest.
Example: Fruit smoothie made with Greek yogurt, banana or waffle with peanut butter
For the most part, carbohydrates digest faster than a high-protein and fatty meal. As you get closer to a workout or on a race day, opt for higher-carbohydrate foods.
Also make sure not to overload on fiber before your run. Most athletes will be just fine eating whole-wheat bread, but beans and cruciferous vegetables( i.e. kale ,red and green cabbage) tend to be harder to digest. Spicy foods and too much caffeine can also upset the stomach before hand. Remember, pre-exercise fuel should be a part of a training program and practiced on your long run days instead of waiting until race day.
What to Eat/Drink Post-Run
Exercise is known to suppress appetite; while you might not be hungry after a workout, recovery is enhanced when proper fuel is consumed. By eating a balanced post-workout meal or snack, the body will have the building blocks it needs to repair damaged muscles, replace lost energy stores, and recover faster so you won’t be as sore post-workout, and can train harder tomorrow.
Post-workout, remember the 3 R’s for recovery: refuel with carbs, rebuild with protein, and rehydrate with electrolyte-rich fluids. Carbs and protein work together in the post-workout meal to enhance energy “glycogen” stores and stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Fluids with electrolytes like sodium and potassium are needed to replace what’s lost in sweat.
After a long run or tough workout, the body needs fuel within 30 minutes. If you can’t get a full meal within 30 minutes of finishing the workout, have a small carbohydrate rich-snack or fruit smoothie. Then eat a meal with high-quality protein within two hours of the workout to get the most out of your recovery meal. Eating foods rich in antioxidants like fruits and vegetables can help the body recover quicker by reducing muscle soreness and preventing injury. (Cherries are a great choice!)
Post-Workout Snack Ideas:
- Smoothie with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on 100% whole-grain bread
- 8-12 ounces chocolate milk
Post-Workout Meal Ideas:
- Turkey sandwich with green salad
- Burrito bowl with rice, beans, chicken, lettuce, tomato
- Veggie omelette with toast and fresh fruit
Learn how to make running easier on your body:
- Running Drills
- Strength and Mobility Exercises
- Postural and Stability Exercises
- 6 and 12 Week Training Plans
- Step by Step Coaching
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Source My Fitness Pal