What to Eat Before and After Your Run

Hi Runner,

Let’s talk about an important topic : Diet and Nutrition.
Just to remind you, I am not a nutritionist nor a dietician, but since I started my running journey back in 2016, I had many trial and error. Each run made me notice things and with time I reached to some conclusions that I am sharing with you through my articles.
They say practice is more important than theory: I agree; but knowing and reading more about any topic makes you avoid bad experiences. I’ve been there, done that, so why don’t I just put it out there for you to avoid bad experiences and get stuck with beautiful ones.

As the title says already, knowing what to eat before and after a run is crucial.
They say : You are what you eat; I say : you run what you eat.

Are you familiar with those side cramps you get while running? Or feeling dizzy, seeing black spots for few seconds? Well, let me tell you something Runner, your diet and nutrition isn’t only important to maintain a good health, but it’s also primordial to reach your peak performance.
Hydration and nutrition can break or make your runs and trainings. Believe it or not, what you eat can affect your run, the way you feel and think.

In this article, you will get to know more about the food you need to eat before, after and even during a run, the proper timing and the hydration required.

Let’s start with the TIMING.
– Is there a specific time to eat before a run? No! Again it’s trial and error. When you are starting a run, you shouldn’t feel full and stuffed nor starving and hungry.
Eating immediately before a run leads to side stitches and cramps throughout your run. You might as well feel heavy and constantly feel the urge to puke whenever you add more intensity to your training. Those are signs that you need to give your body more time to digest before a workout.
I would recommend you to eat 2 to 3 hours before a run, but it also depends on what you are eating. If you are having heavy food: greasy, fried & fatty food then you need even more time to digest it.

Here you go, running won’t only lead you to a better shape but also will ask you to eat clean and have a healthier diet.

Here is a list of :

What to eat :
– Whole grain ( Bread, pasta, quinoa, rice, …)
– Lean Proteins
– Fresh Fruits
– Plain Yogurt
– Peanut Butter
– Almonds and raw nuts

What to avoid :
– Soda, soft drinks
– Spicy food
– Alcoholic drinks
– Fast food
– Fried and oily food
– Processed food

*Don’t be too hard on yourself, AVOID means try not to consume it, it doesn’t mean it’s forbidden !*

As a runner, you need to have a balanced diet that includes: carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. In my next article, I will tackle this topic more and write about the important nutrients, so stay tuned!

Now what to eat BEFORE A RUN ?
Your choice of a pre-run meal should be well thought off since eating the wrong food can make you uncomfortable during the run. Some examples of a good pre-run fuel :
– whole wheat bread with peanut butter
– a banana and an energy bar
– some dates
– oatmeal

If you choose to go on an empty stomach, make sure you have enough energy to last a short run. If you have some time for a light snack, focus on an option that is high in carbohydrates and can be digested quickly.
If you are going for an evening run, a 100 calories snack can be a good option: like a banana.

What to eat DURING A RUN ?
While many runners plan their pre and post running meals, some trainings require fuelling up during the workout. This applies if you are running long distances. You start to consider mid-run meals if you are running more than an hour.
During a workout and short runs, the energy needed to sustain the efforts come from the glycogen stored in your muscles. After a 90 mins effort, you will need to fuel up with carbohydrates to replace the glycogen you have lost.
Sports drinks are usually a good choice to replenish your body lost hydration and glucose. Those drinks contains minerals you’ve been losing during the run. They provide hydration, sodium and potassium. You can also use the Sports gels and chews which are high in carbohydrates and can be fast digested.
You also have good options of mid- run snacks if you prefer to go for real food like bananas, grapes, energy bars and raisins.

What to eat AFTER A RUN ?
It’s very important to restore your body with all the minerals and glycogen used for the run. Hydrate very well, drink , drink , drink water!
The after run meal depends on your goal. If you want to lose weight, then consider a low caloric meal and if you want to gain more muscles then focus on a high protein meal.
A good post run meal would include fluids, carbohydrates and protein.
Again, try to avoid greasy, high fat and fried food which have a very low nutritional value and are very high in calories.

And last let’s talk about HYDRATION.
It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Usually the amount of water (in oz) you need to drink during a day is equal to half your weight (in pounds).
For example if you weight 180 pounds, you will need to drink 90 oz of water.
The more you sweat and work out, the more you will need to drink water.

Don’t stuff yourself with water right before a run as you might experience the urge to pee during your training and it’s also not really comfortable to run with a stomach full of water.

Sip water while you are running, it will restore the fluids you’ve lost, specially if you are training for more than an hour.

After the run, it’s the perfect time to replenish and refill your body with water. A poor hydration can lead to injuries, weakened muscles and fatigue.

Remember you are your run, and you run what you eat. So keep it clean and healthy.
You will feel a whole difference.

Leave a comment below if you have any question, you can always message me directly through Instagram via  @lr.t_ .

Stay tuned for next week article : The Important Nutrients for You, as it’s a continuity of this one.

See you soon!

– L.

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