What you eat and when you eat can have a huge impact on how you feel and how you run. Nutrition and hydration are incredibly important to help you do your best, recover better, and feel full and last.
There are two primary factors to consider when creating your fuel plan – what to eat and when to eat. This varies from person to person and will change the more you run or if you change your schedule.
How to fuel your body to run your best
- What do you eat – how long is your run? When was the last time you ate? How much fuel do you need?
- When to eat – when is you running and how long do you need to digest before?
Most runners access easy-to-digest carbohydrates before they bond. Snack is more important if you are hungry and / or haven’t eaten within a few hours. Eat a snack if you are going out for a short time and / or have eaten recently and want a little extra fuel.
Foods that are easy to carry and go to eat before jogging
- Banana with nut butter – An easy to grab and go snack. You can also substitute ‘naner’ for a fave fruit
- Toast with nut butter and jam – One piece might work for short jogging, or two pieces when you’re hungry or run for a long time
- Oatmeal with nuts Instant oatmeal packs work well and are easy to travel for races
- Overnight oats – try this… Chocolate chip cookie dough overnight oatmeal recipe
- Yogurt with fruits or nuts – Simple and easy to make lighter or more substantial by class
- Granola or protein bar Aim for a bar that has more carbohydrates than protein
- Pastries with hummus or PB This is a good option if you crave salt after a run
- Fruit and nuts A piece of fruit and a handful of nuts
- PB&J sandwich Pack it with running gear if you run after work or school
- Grain mixture Love a homemade mix of grains, nuts, and dried fruits in a bag for an afternoon snack
- Crackers and cheese Replace the cheese with turkey or tuna if you prefer
- Fruit juice If you don’t like eating before you run, fruit juice may be helpful
- Avocado tortilla Warm tortilla with butter or mashed avocado with a pinch of salt – try it.
- Rice with avocado Try white rice before running if your stomach is sensitive to heavy foods
- Sweet potato and PB PB is optional – but surprisingly good with sweet potatoes
Give yourself time to digest before you run. This varies depending on your stomach and what you eat. If you are a new or new runner to eat before a run – try to eat something light 45 minutes before planning a run. If you have a sensitive stomach, give yourself a little more time (start an hour before and adjust as needed).
If your stomach is like a steel trap and you can eat a corndog, a banana dipped in chocolate and half a funnel cake … then jump on the three-sided rollercoaster without a problem – you probably won’t have problems eating before you run.
Knowing when to eat is just one piece of the puzzle. Another important part is determining exactly what you eat that will get you to manage your best. So try a few different foods and see how you feel on the running log.
If you feel that you cannot eat before a run due to stomach or digestive problems, then you will need a little more patience to learn how to nourish your body well.
Start with simple carbohydrates such as bananas, crackers, toast, or rice. Eat at least 45 minutes before running. Then write detailed notes in your log along with any relevant information.
After a few weeks of eating simple carbohydrates, try to incorporate a little bit of fats with them. Again, without detailed notes. Build on this process until you feel you are nourishing yourself well to function at your best.
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