If you’re a runner, you should know what and when you need to eat. However, your body has different plans. It may make you hungry when you don’t need to be, which should be during training, or it will not be hungry after training. Because of our lives your muscles, stomach and brain are usually all over the place.
For instance, running early can cause fatigue later on when you’re working. But if you train midday you may feel too hungry to do so. Don’t get us started on doing it after work, which may cause you to eat dinner too close to bedtime.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can sync up that body of yours so you can get the balance you so deserve.
There is debate as to if you should eat if you run during the morning. Let’s shut this debate down by saying that you do need to eat. Your body needs some energy to help you with the run, and your entire body needs those nutrients. This has been proven by studies. Eating before a run can give you more endurance. Your exercise will be less strenuous and flow better compared to those who eat beforehand.
There are some exceptions. If you eat too soon before the run, you may get nausea and cramps. Some people get up close to when they need to get to work. However, if you’re an early bird, you should have enough time to do everything before you leave.
If you do eat, munch on some high-carb foods that are low in fat and decent in protein. About 400-800 calories should give enough for your training. Make sure you drink enough water beforehand so that you don’t lose sweat.
These great meals can get you started:
Two pieces of toast with fruit
Cereal with low fat/fat free milk and a slice of fruit
A bagel with low-fat cream cheese
For Those Who Sleep Late
Most of you all will be like this, and won’t have enough time to eat before you leave. With that said, experiment a bit and see what you can digest before training. A few ideas are as follows.
Half a bagel
Half of a carbohydrate drink
One energy gel with some water
If these don’t help, eat a large dinner the night before so you can have some fuel beforehand. Unless you’re doing an extremely long run, you should have enough fuel to run in the morning.
Tips for Both Kinds of People
No matter when you wake up, you need calories from protein, carbs and nutrients once you finish with your run. A post-workout meal will give you energy for work, stopping fatigue in its tracks. For best results eat no later than an hour after you train, and include carbs and protein in your diet. A few ideas include a fruit smoothie with some protein powder added to it, eggs on whole-wheat toast and fruit juice or simply leftovers from last night!
For Those Who Love Lunch
If you run during the hours of lunch, you might succumb to hunger. If you eat breakfast at an early time, like six in the morning you haven’t eaten for about six hours. Your energy that breakfast provided is now history and your blood sugar will lower because of it. Don’t give yourself a bigger breakfast, because that may make you feel worse. Instead, make sure you have a small snack ready before you run.
Tips for the Runner:
Timing is everything. Eat one hour or up to four before you run. This gives you enough time for food to be converted into energy.
The quantity matters. Depending on your body size and what you eat during breakfast, you should have 100-400 calories.
Content is key. Grab low-fat foods that are high in carbs and nutrients. A few snack ideas include:
- An energy bar or breakfast with fewer than five grams of fat.
- A slice of whole-wheat toast with fruity spread.
- Seventy-five grams of dried fruit with some vegetable juice.
- Oatmeal that has been brewed with skim milk.
Lunch After Running
There’s a problem with exercising during the lunch hour, and that’s that you have little time to eat lunch. However, you still need fluids and foods to help your brain and body fuel and recover for the rest of the day. Packing a lunch of your own can help, unless you have a place at work where you can eat. Packing your lunch takes little time at all. For a few tips, read down:
Shop for convenient items that take little time to prepare and eat. These include raisins, nuts, cereal bars and yogurt.
Fruit is perfect. Throw in a few fruit pieces in your bag so that you can have nutritious carbs with ease.
Leftovers rock! Grab any food from last night and seal it in a container so you can reheat and eat
Exercising During the Evening
Running helps to eliminate stresses that work causes. But, there’s a problem in doing so. Sometimes you’re too hungry or tired to eat. If you do run without eating you’re going to eat everything you can before you can even make your dinner. Or you make dinner too late and go to bed full.
What should you do to avoid this? Simply eat healthy all day so that you won’t have digestive problems that could interfere with your training. This way you’re always fueled and will never have to use “I’m hungry” as an excuse to not run.
In addition, you can eat light meals after your workout so you can recover. This will prevent digestive problems and help you sleep better.
Tips for Evening Runners
Never skip your breakfast. Consume 500 calories for breakfast. A fruit smoothie made from yogurt, juice, and fruit can help. Cereal with skimmed milk, fruit and nuts can help as well.
Lunch should be your big meal. Include quality proteins like lean beef, chicken, fish or tofu and add whole-grain breads and fruits.
Snacking during the mid-afternoon can help. About three hours before running, eat a piece of fruit or a protein bar, and drink some water to stay hydrated.
Speaking of water, drink more. Drink right after running. Drink as you fix your meal. This will restore the sweat you’ve lost, and will help you to stop eating everything you see.
Moderation is key during dinnertime. According to legend if you eat before bedtime the calories will turn into fat. That’s a lie. You’ll still use that energy as fuel for the next day. But if you eat too much, no matter what time your body will keep the energy as fat. Make healthy choices and keep running.