Foods to Eat Before and After Running

Nothing feels better than a good, long run with the wind in your hair and the sounds of the city or country. Without a doubt, long runs will burn a great deal of energy. This means it is very important for runners to eat, both before and after their runs. Before a run, food needs to be consumed 30 to 60 minutes prior. After a run, it is best to feed your muscles within 30 minutes.



Foods to Eat Before the Run

First and foremost, before eating any food at all, it is best for runners to drink water. It is important to hydrate yourself with 12 to 16 ounces of water roughly an hour prior to your workout. Bringing water along with you on your run is also a grand idea.

 

The best thing to eat prior to your run is something loaded with carbohydrates balanced with proteins. This will help you burn fat during your workout. It is also best to eat foods that are easy to digest, such as those low in fat and fiber.

 

If you are going on a short run, under an hour, some snacks you can eat prior to your workout include:

  • Half a Clif bar or other power bar
  • Fruit, such as a banana or peach
  • An English muffin with jelly or jam
  • Applesauce or pudding

If you are going on a longer run, over an hour, some snacks you can eat prior to your workout include:

  • A cup of Greek yogurt
  • A banana with peanut or almond butter
  • 2 slices of wholewheat bread with peanut or almond butter
  • 1 cooked sweet potato
  • Cooked oatmeal or quinoa
  • Hummus

 

In order to avoid cramps while running, it is important not to eat too much. Eating until you are satisfied rather than full will help. Make sure you eat at least 30 minutes prior to your workout to stay pain-free.

 

Foods to Eat After the Run

After a run, it is important to replenish energy as soon as possible. Muscles are ready for their refuel within 30 minutes of the run. They are very receptive to restoring glycogen immediately after you run. In the long run, eating right after running will also help you reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.

 

Eating a large amount of carbohydrates after the run is just as important as eating them beforehand. After a long workout, you need to make sure you are feeding your body so it can continue to burn fat and also replenish itself of all the vitamins and minerals consumed.

 

For those able to stomach food immediately after a run, some post-run food options include:

  • A bagel with peanut butter
  • A fruit and yogurt smoothie
  • A Clif or other protein bar
  • Hummus
  • Chicken breast
  • Salmon
  • Almonds

 

If you are not able to quite stomach food after a long run, drinking chocolate milk is a good option. The milk provides B vitamins and carbohydrates, making it a good drink for recovery. Drinking plenty of water to rehydrate the body is also important after a long run.

 

Why Carbohydrates?

As you have likely noticed, the best foods to consume before and after a run are carbohydrates. The same principles can be applied to other strenuous workouts. The nutrients are important for athletes of all calibers to maximize speed, energy levels, focus, endurance, and fluid balance. Basically, they are the body’s fuel.

 

Carbohydrates, in the form of muscle glycogen, play a particularly major role in an athlete’s body because they also enable your body’s protein to be used for tissue synthesis or muscle building. It helps you build endurance and allows you to work out at an intense level.

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