Many people have a lot of queries when it comes to eating and running. For instance, is eating before running safe? People also wonder whether eating after a run is a good idea or not. What is important to know here is that when it comes to eating and running, the two go hand in hand. The energy levels you need to maintain during a run and the energy levels you must keep reserved for the post run period are all determined by your dietary regimen. In order to maximize athletic performance, it is a must that you consume the right foods at the right time. This entails the right foods before a run and after a run both. Knowing what to eat when is what the real question is.
With the fact established that eating at both points is vital, let’s now shed some light at why it is so and what you can do to ensure you are getting the right amount of right nutrients to add fuel to your athletic performance!
Eating Before Running
Many people are apprehensive about eating before running as they feel that it may slow them down or lead to cramps and stomach aches, which it is fair to say, are absolutely unwanted. The idea is to eat an amount of food sufficient enough that neither do you feel stuffed nor starved. It is advisable to refrain from eating immediately before a run as that can possibly lead to side stitches or cramping. A side stitch can be described as an excruciating sharp upsurge of pain under the rib-cage area, usually towards the left side. However, if you don’t eat before a run you may exhaust your energy levels which will ultimately make your performance suffer. So the middle ground you can establish between the two extremes is to eat about an hour or two before you go for your run.
A meal that is high in carbs and relatively low in fiber, proteins and fat is your best bet for a pre-run meal. Some hits in the realm of pre-workout foods include the infamous bagel with cream cheese, a peanut butter toast, turkey and cheese sandwiches, a bowl of cereal consumed with milk or maybe a banana along with an energy bar! Eating fatty, high fiber foods can lead to gastrointestinal issues and so it is better if you stay far at bay from those!
Eating After Running
It is obvious that running is bound to exhaust your energy levels and hence, you are bound to eat after running. And so, it is highly essential that you replenish these exhausted energy reservoirs by eating the right foods, the sooner the better after a run. Various studies conducted on the matter have reached the conclusion that the first 30 minutes after a workout are crucial. It is at this time that the muscles are the most responsive to the rebuilding of depleted glycogen levels. Hence, if you eat after running – say 30 minutes right after a workout, you can significantly minimize and avoid the possibility of sore and stiff muscles.
The best nutrients to consume and those that you will very much need after a run include carbs and proteins. While carbohydrates will stack up on your energy needs, proteins will work on the rebuilding of muscles that have been subjected to wear and tear during the workout. The ratio to follow as a rule of thumb between carbohydrates and proteins for a post workout meal is a gram of protein for every 3 grams of carbohydrates.
A fruit and smoothie yoghurt, pasta topped with chicken, peanut butter and jelly sandwich and chocolate milk drinks are some good options to fall on for a quick post workout meal fix! Also, do not forget to keep hydrated. Keep drinking water in varying intervals as the body loses a substantial amount of fluid in the form of sweat during a run!