What to eat, what not to eat and prepare
A healthy running diet isn’t just about speed and distance. To get the most out of each race, you need fuel, i.e. performance drinks and nominative names.
And we don’t endorse the filling right before hitting the road or the cardio approach on an empty stomach. Eating well for your run takes knowledge of your body and finesse.
So here’s a deep dive into what types of fuel you should be aiming for, when you should be fueling, and how to use nutritional tips to shape the eating plan that’s right for your running goals.
Running burns a lot of calories. Thus, for optimal performance, it is also necessary to fill up on calories.
Here’s how to approach diet before, during, and after your run to make your workout more successful.
Meal before the race
You should try to eat a meal about 3 or 4 hours before the “Forrest Gump”. Foods that are high in carbohydrates, medium in protein, and low in fat tend to be the best. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which your body can use for energy.
PS You should try to drink 17 to 20 ounces of water with your meal before the race, according to an expert position statement. This can increase if you run in particularly hot and humid weather.
Enjoy a light bite about 30 to 60 minutes before longer runs. This can help keep your blood sugar levels up to speed and may lower your risk of craving a snack halfway through.
Message of public interest: You should try to avoid heavy, spicy, fatty, fried, or high fiber foods before any workout, especially a run. They are harder to digest and can cause stomach problems halfway through 💩.
What to eat during a race
An intra-race snack can come in clutch on longer hikes. A research review has shown that glycogen stores start to deplete after 1 or 2 hours of running. To keep your energy level where you want it, consume 30 to 60 carbs per hour during runs that last longer than 90 minutes.
for your information: It is best to spread your carbohydrates longer term. For example, snacking every 20 to 30 minutes is usually the average, but it varies. Also, don’t forget to hydrate yourself with a snack.
What to eat after a race
The ideal post-run meal should help replenish glycogen stores, repair micro-tears in your muscles (pain), and replenish electrolytes. That said, aim for a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fluids.
Pro tip: Try to eat as soon as possible after a run. Muscles may be more receptive to replenishing glycogen stores in the first 2 hours after a workout, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Not all energy foods are created equal. Your best bet is a high-quality bar, gel, or chewable product that maintains your energy levels without causing a fatal sugar drop. Here are our top five picks to help you go the distance.
1. Best Mid-Term Bar: This Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bar Saves Lives
This is a solid mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack to manage hunger between workouts / races. GMO free? To verify. Gluten free? Yeah. Delicious? Fuck yes. This delicious treat from This Saves Lives is made with cocoa powder, chicory root fiber, whole oatmeal and hazelnuts.
2. The best bar before a race: Bonk Breaker Real Food Energy Bar Peanut butter and dark chocolate chips
This gluten-free bar is the bomb. It has a 4: 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio that will keep you energized. Critics like that it doesn’t have an artificial taste. Tapioca and dried cane syrups give it a touch of sweetness, while peanuts and oatmeal give it a satisfying texture.
3. Best Energy Chews: Probar Bolt Energy Chews
Energy chewing gum is very popular, and for good reason. They’re quick, tasty, and easy to store on the go. These Probar chews contain vitamins C, B6 and B12. They also contain 23 grams (g) of carbohydrate per 30 gram serving for a quick burst of energy.
But wait, there is more! They come in six tasty flavors: strawberry, berry blast, raspberry, orange, pink lemonade and pomegranate.
4.Best energy gel: GU Energy Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel
Fuel up like a winner with this vegan and gluten-free energy gel. Each sachet contains 100 calories and essential electrolytes. It is composed of a mixture of maltodextrin and fructose which could help you to pep up your step. What you basically get are the carbs you need (around 20-25g, depending on flavor) in the fastest form – sugar.
The gel comes in salted caramel, chocolate outrage, vanilla bean, strawberry banana, tri-berry and jet blackberry. All are delicious, but the chocolate outrage seems to be a fan favorite.
5. Best Electrolyte Drink: Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus Lemonade Replenishment Drink
Move on, Gatorade! There’s a new electrolyte superstar in town. This keto-friendly supplement is sugar and calorie free. It is completely herbal and sweetened with stevia extract. It’s also formulated with lots of essential vitamins and minerals to help support post-workout recovery.
So, now that we’ve covered a lot of the food that provides the right running fuel, let’s talk about how it should be made for the road (or off-road).
Is there a good way to pack foods for a quick bite to eat?
While there are some pretty consistent suggestions on what to eat for a run, it’s up to you to decide what to eat.
It’s nice to have quick snacks prepared and ready to go, so you can just grab them and go. But if you like to devote a little more time and attention to preparing your fuel, you can also cook your meals as you go.
Is the cooking method important?
Your cooking method of choice can absolutely make or break a workout meal. Eating large amounts of raw food before putting on your shoes can increase your risk of catching a runner’s trot. You might be better off boiling, broiling, baking, or poaching vegetables instead.
You should also be careful with fried foods or foods that have been cooked in tons of oil. They are high in calories and high in fat, which can make them difficult to digest. No one wants to run around with what looks like a pot of boiling acid in their stomach.
You may have heard that sugar and salt are not good for you. But both can actually be beneficial for a healthy running routine.
It’s good to be a savory
Salt is a key source of sodium – one of the electrolytes that helps your body maintain a healthy amount of fluids. It also helps your muscles to contract and the nerves to work on the Flek.
Sweating can lower your sodium levels, so it’s important to eat a little salt on longer runs. Some of the well-known sports drinks also do the trick.
Pour a little Easy sugar on me
Sugar can provide a quick energy boost. But not all candy is the same. Instead of nibbling on a slice of cake, keep it natural. A spoonful of honey, a handful of dried fruit or a fresh fruit usually does the trick.
As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of suggestions out there, but the rules of food management are not written in stone. However, there are certain foods and drinks that runners can avoid, especially those that are high in fat, caffeine, or cause indigestion.
While all of the above certainly won’t be detrimental if consumed in moderation (we all have our indulgences, after all), they certainly don’t provide the right kind of fuel for optimal operating conditions. So they shouldn’t be on the menu during a race day.
Running is a great activity that can help you achieve a healthy lifestyle. Remember, you need to fuel your body right before you go. It won’t be the same for everyone, but learning what you’re responding to and what to avoid will give you a good head start.
Remember: Eating / snacking before, snacking during and eating after the races is the pace. The formula is high in carbohydrates, moderately protein and low in fat. This staple diet will give your body the nutrition it needs to keep your run consistent and efficient.
PS Remember to hydrate throughout, of course.