Reminder: what to eat before running?

We’ve figured out how to eat before a run so you can run easily and without digestion. Spoiler alert: There won’t be a recipe for everyone, but our recommendations will help you determine what’s right (or not) for you.

Determine the best meal times

First you need to figure out how long before the start of the run you can eat without consequences in the form of heaviness in the stomach and other unpleasant sensations. The intensity of food digestion is different for everyone: 30-60 minutes is enough for someone (lucky!), others have to wait 2-3 hours before taking the first step towards the door.

How to find your optimal “window”? Experimentally, in practice. Aim to eat a medium-sized meal 90 minutes before your run. If the workout went without stomach discomfort, try moving your meal closer to 15-20 minutes next time.

Likewise, if you’re having digestive issues while running, try eating 15-20 minutes later. So, by moving in 15-minute intervals, you can determine the specific time that works for your body.

Determining Calorie Needs for Different Types of Running Workouts

Runners tend to overdo their calorie intake: “Well, I worked and honestly worked that big bowl of pasta.”

The average 70kg athlete only burns 500-600 calories in 60 minutes of running, depending on pace and level of effort. In addition, the muscles already have enough fuel (glycogen), which is enough for 2 hours of work. For a more accurate calculation, you can use this calorie calculator.

It follows that on normal race days, a small snack 30 to 90 minutes before the start of training will be enough to keep you from feeling hungry and raise your blood sugar a little.

If you prefer to run in the morning, your muscle glycogen stores will be a little lower (after all, at least 6-8 hours have passed since dinner). But unless you’re planning a long run or intense workout, you don’t have to worry about running out of calories anyway.

We make a “black list” of products

You will have to select, as usual, empirically. But there are commonalities Criteriawhich should correspond to a common snack:

  • low fat
  • low fiber
  • low protein
  • high in carbohydrates

Proteins and fats slow down the digestion process. It helps you feel full long after a meal, but it’s not the best choice before a workout – you need easily digestible foods here.

Too much fat or protein before a run can cause side pain, nausea, and a heavy feeling. Foods high in fiber sometimes cause cramps and flatulence.

Drinking your favorite cup of coffee after a run is also a good idea: caffeinated beverages can cause heart palpitations, stomach pain and frequent urination.

Foods to avoid before running:

  • legumes
  • broccoli, artichokes and other fiber-rich vegetables
  • apples, pears and other fiber-rich fruits
  • caffeine (large amounts)
  • cheese, cottage cheese, red meat, bacon, and other protein-rich foods
  • spicy food
  • dairy products – kefir, yogurt, milk, ice cream

Choosing the Right Carbohydrate Snack

Carb-rich foods are the best choice before a race. From carbohydrates, the body receives glucose – the main source of energy during exercise. Glucose travels through the bloodstream where it can be used for immediate energy or stored as readily available glycogen in the muscles and liver.

Favor natural products as much as possible, keep sports gels for competitions.

Here are the most popular options for “running” snacks.

Before a morning jog of medium intensity and duration:

  • banana
  • Appointment
  • sweet tea with cookies
  • muesli bar

Before a tempo or interval workout:

  • toast with jam or peanut butter and banana
  • oatmeal with jam
  • pancakes / waffles with jam

Before a long workout:

  • Pasta
  • Yam
  • oatmeal with banana and dried fruits
  • cereals – buckwheat, rice, quinoa with a small amount of vegetables

The same products will be a suitable dinner if you have a long workout in the morning.

Before the competition

The main rule is not to eat foods that you have not tried before and whose stomach reaction is unknown.

For many recreational runners, the meal of choice before a race is oatmeal with jam.

Important: The pre-race dinner should also be light. An excess of fatty or spicy foods the night before can affect the quality of sleep and remind you with stomach cramps when running. And foods that are too salty will contribute to faster dehydration.

Don’t forget hydration

Of course, you shouldn’t drink dekaliters of water right before a race, but you don’t have to completely refuse to drink. 30-40 minutes before training, you can drink 200 ml of liquid. The most suitable options are still mineral water, sweetened tea, or sports drink.