To run your best, running alone will only get you so far. It’s crucial to put thought into what you are putting into your stomach—especially if you’re serious about achieving your running best.
That’s why today I decided to share with you, my dear readers, some of my best practical diet tips. These, of course, are not written in stone. So feel free to pick and choose, keeping what works for you, and discarding the rest.
Just bear in mind that the main word key here is EXPERIMENT. So you gotta try out different things before you settle your mind on a particular plan.
So are you excited? Then here we go…
The pre-run meal—what you eat in the two hours before a run is the first step toward making the most out of the kitchen.
Pre-Run Eating Benefits
As you already know, every meal is important and serves a particular function. But as a runner, in my opinion, and experience, the most important meal is the one you have just before a run (or workout).
Enter the pre-run meal
Messing with your pre-run meals, whether by eating too much, eating too little, opting for the wrong food, or mistiming the meal, can significantly affect your performance and running enjoyment.
On the other hand, by following an effective pre-run eating strategy, your body will perform better, recover faster and also reduce the risks of discomfort and illness.
A proper pre-run meal will supply your body with the energy it needs to perform its best on the run. It can also prevent a catabolic environment—when muscle tissue is broken down and used as energy. This is especially vital if you are looking to protect your hard earned muscles.
11 Yummy Pre-Run Meals & Snacks
Here are 12 high-carb, low-fiber, low-fat snacks and drinks that can supply you with the energy you need to run your best.
One-Hour Before Running
Opt for these quick bites an hour before you head out of the door
You’ll ideally eat these when planning to run for less than an hour, or when doing speedwork sessions.
Yes, I know, water is not food, but in most cases, and especially before short easy workouts, water might be the only thing you need before you head out the door.
Keeping your body well hydrated is something that should go without saying—whether you are heading out for a run or sitting on the sofa and watching reruns of the Walking Dead the whole day.
Water is of paramount importance, period.
Aim for at least 20 ounces of water one to two hours before working out and make sure that your body is well hydrated throughout the day. Check your pee for that.
2. Banana with Nut Butter
This is, by far, one of my favorite pre-workout snacks of all times…
Banana is an excellent source of fluid and potassium, helping you stay hydrated. Plus, the natural sweeteners in bananas take longer to be digested than the processed sugars you’ll find in candy. While the nut butter offers a healthy dose of heart-healthy fat and carbs to keep you energized.
3. 16-ounce Sports Drink
Although I’m not a heavy user of sports drinks, I still believe that they are beneficial and have a role to play—especially if you do any type of intense running, such as intervals and hill reps.
Sports drinks are a great source of fluids and electrolyte, helping you stay hydrated and prevent muscle spasms. They are designed to replace lost fluids quickly and to boost the sugar circulating in your blood.
Smoothies are the ideal snack on-the-go. They are time-friendly, full of energy and easy to make. To get the most out of it, blend your favorite sliced fruit, with a cup of Greek yogurt and a tablespoon of chocolate sauce, and one cup of ice.
5. Chocolate milk
Add this powerful snack into your pre-run meals arsenal. This beverage contains a good carbs-to-protein ratio to replenish and rebuild your muscles.
Chocolate milk is also a great source of bone-boosting calcium. Getting a dose of this vital nutrient before working out prevents you from losing too much calcium through sweat.
Chocolate milk is also an ideal post-run choice.
6. Apple & String Cheese
If you are looking for a powerful antioxidant dose punch, then look no further than apples. It scores high on hunger-fighting fiber, health-promoting antioxidants, and steady-state carbohydrates (carbs that don’t cause a blood sugar spike).
What’s more? The string cheese is a good source of protein and a gratifying salty supplement to the sweet fruit.
7. Fruits & Cottage
The fruits will provide your body with energy, antioxidants, minerals and fluids needs for your run, while cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein.
Two Hours Before Running
Eat these snacks two hours before you head out of the door. They are denser and will provide your body with more energy.
8. Whole-Grain Waffles with Syrup
Both the waffle and the syrup will provide your body with fast digesting carbs for an awesome energy boost. Plus, the syrup is also a great source of vitamins B, which aids recovery and increases energy.
The maple syrup is one of my favorites because it contains potassium, zinc, manganese and antioxidants. Therefore, it will not only fuel your body, but also help replenish it with minerals and vitamins.
9. Veggie Omelet
I hate to sound like a broken record, but by far, eggs are the best source of protein and adding veggies—think onions, green peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes—to the mix, is the perfect energy-boosting pre-run meal that there is.
10. Toast with Sliced Banana and Cinnamon
The combination of whole wheat toast with fruit provides your body with a mixed bag of complex and simple carbs so that is easy to digest and will grant your body is a slow and steady supply of energy throughout your run.
The complex carbs will help you run long, while the fruit adds an extra kick of energy for your run.
11. Yogurt and Trail Mix
Yogurt is the ideal pre-run choice for the long run. It’s easy on the stomach, and when mixed with trail mix, it can give you the energy boost your body needs. The healthy sugars from the dried fruits are an excellent source of quick energy, while the nuts and the seeds will prevent sugar crash during your long runs.
Here you have it. 11 delicious prerun meals and snacks to help you fuel right for your runs. Please if you have other pre-run meal ideas, feel free to share them with me.
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Looking forward to reading your comments and questions.
Thank you for reading my post.
Photo Credit: Alin ‘n Son Via Flickr