We all think about training to be able to eat well and stay in shape, but how often do we think about what we need to eat to train well? There is nothing like heartburn, nausea, a stitch or a sugar spike to turn a training run into a very unpleasant experience.
In the same way that we need to plan our run for the day, we also need to plan our eating and drinking prior.
Eat too much (or very slow digesting foods such as meat) too close to your run and you have your legs and stomach competing for energy and blood needed for digestion. Add in the bouncing of running and stomach cramps or nausea are inevitable. Don’t eat at all (think crazy day at work!) or grab a sugary pre-run snack, the result, energy blow out. Too much fiber or coffee, too little water…you will quickly find there are a few common pre-run no, no’s…
To help you get on track here are a few very simple “rules” to eat by:
- Allow on average 3-4 hours for your lunch to digest if running in the evening (red meat however can take 5-7 hours) Read more lunch tips here
- Morning runs can usually be done on an empty stomach if you ate a good evening meal or something light eg. Honey on toast, a banana etc. eating 30-60 min before
- Stay hydrated throughout the day. Caffeine is a diuretic and can cause you tummy to work so take it easy on the coffee in the afternoon if you are prone to “runs” on the run
- Avoid having sugary foods and drinks just before your run
- Avoid spicy or gassy foods in your pre-run meal
- Keep some healthy carbohydrate snacks in your desk draw or car for those days when you will be rushing around and might not get to a proper meal before your run
Finally – The best expert on nutrition is your own body, find what works well for you and stick to it!