The Best Pre-Run Diet And Which Foods Should Be Avoided

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The Best Pre-Run Diet And Which Foods Should Be Avoided

pre-run diet

A good pre-run diet effects how well you run. Being able to run efficiently depends on first supplying the body with the right fuel, which of course is in the form of food. Whether one is going for a long run, short warm-up circuit, or is preparing for a race, the right pre-run diet is essential for peak performance. This guide lets runners know which foods to eat in order to run optimally.

As a rule, a runner’s daily intake of carbohydrates should be commensurate with his or her body weight, and training intensity. Longer and more intense training periods must be fueled by about 50 to 75 grams of carbohydrates per meal, shorter, practice runs call for 15 to 30 grams of carbs in one’s low fat and fiber pre-run snack.

Runs under an hour can be sufficiently powered with a pre-run diet consisting of  a banana, peach, half an English muffin with preserves, or a cereal bar. An intense training run longer than an hour is best prepared for by eating any of the following, Greek yogurt with or without berries, banana with peanut butter, 1 cup serving of oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup or brown sugar, 1 cooked sweet potato, 2 slices of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, or cup of whole wheat pasta or cooked quinoa.

The Length Of Time To Wait Before Running After Eating Your Pre-Run Diet

pre-run diet

The length of time a runner should wait after eating before going running can vary, but generally speaking, one should wait about 2 to 4 hours after eating a larger meal and 30 minutes to 2 hours after a snack. Carbohydrates that have a relatively high glycemic index, that quickly converted into glucose, make ideal snacks because they will place less strain on the digestive system while running. Whereas meals should consist of mostly low glycemic index foods that will slowly release an ongoing energy supply.

Some runners need to eat their pre-run diet early in the morning. Although some people may find eating at this time unappealing, it’s still advisable to eat something. Those who wake up about two hours before can consider options like oatmeal, whole wheat toast with eggs, bagels, muffins, granola, porridge, whole grain blueberry pancakes, or a breakfast smoothie. Runners who have less time can eat some dried or fresh fruit, handful of nuts or seeds, or a shake.

When I was teaching school, I would wake up at 5:00 A.M. every morning and run 5 to 6 miles without eating anything. However, I did eat a heavy dinner the day before. After the run, I would eat a light breakfast before heading out to work. For a 5 to 6 mile run, it’s really up to the individual to decide whether or not to eat anything before the actual workout.

Foods A Pre-Run Diet Should Not Include

pre-run diet

Besides making sure to eat the right foods before a run, it’s also important for runners to avoid other types of food that may cause digestive upset. These include foods that have a very high fiber content or are excessively fatty or spicy, drinking alcoholic beverages or too much tea, coffee, or other drinks that contain caffeine, they may cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems.

If it’s the morning of a major running event, the runner should eat a balanced breakfast of his or her favorite healthy foods about two to four hours before the race begins. Some good options include pancakes topped with fruit and nuts, porridge, oatmeal, or granola with milk or soy milk, Greek yogurt, a bagel or muffin with low-fat cottage cheese, multi-grain bread with eggs, fruit salad, and a smoothie or fruit juice to drink.

Drinking enough water is also an important part of a pre-run diet. Ideally a runner should drink about 12 to 16 ounces an hour before heading out to run, and bring a water bottle along as well. If one can only eat one thing before running, it should be a carbohydrate since carbs are the best source of energy.

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