We live in a world of busy-ness where most of us don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. We work, we train, we socialize, and in all this we pack in meals to give us the energy to do all these things.
As a runner how important is it to plan your meals according to your running? We think it’s very important. You don’t want to be reaching for that third cup of coffee just because you’re low on energy and haven’t eaten well. Since everybody has different timings for their runs, we break down the timings, and what you should aim to eat during (before or after) those runs.
It can be hard to face food first thing, meaning your training might suffer and you spend the rest of the day catching up and longing for your bed. Don’t stress if you’re not big on eating early or can’t run with food in your stomach. For sessions up to half an hour, you’ll be fine without food. A caffeine hit will be useful though – it tricks you in to feeling energised with no food. Running longer or harder? Force yourself to get some calories down 30 minutes to an hour before you go. Try a fruit smoothie. If you are doing a hard or long session, consider a second breakfast when you get back. Eggs on toast is a perfect option, giving you a complete protein recovery.
If you’re lucky and strong-willed enough to be able to run at this time of day, go for slow release carbs two to three hours before you start running. You don’t need a quick sugar hit: try porridge for example, instead of a sweeter breakfast. Hungry when you get back? Re-charge with a simple glass of milk. Its natural sugars and protein make it a perfect recovery drink.
Lunch time runs
Run before lunch so you can refuel immediately. Chances are you’ll be hungry if you’re running a few hours after breakfast, so have a snack an hour before. This helps prevent nagging hunger from tempting you to ditch the run. Make your snack something light but fairly filling – plain yogurt with fruit is a good option, for example.
With evening runs you have a free pass to indulge in some straight sugar. You’ll be tired from your day and your mind will try every trick in the book to stop you from running. So fight it off with about 5-6 jelly sweets or an energy gel – your stamina and mood will instantly pick up.
Late night runs
Sometimes, the only way to squeeze in a workout is to do it really, really late. If that’s the case for you, your best bet is to eat dinner at a ‘normal’ time – say 7 or 8pm – keeping it relatively light; 450 to 500kcal should do it. Go for a carbs-based dish that will fuel your run and won’t sit on your stomach – pasta is perfect. Avoid big hunks of protein or creamy sauces as they will make you feel bloated and lethargic.