Meals And Snacks To Fuel Up When Running

Not everyone is able to run on an empty stomach – especially when your training plan wants you to make major efforts concerning speed, distance or both! On the other hand, lacing up with a full tummy isn’t a recipe for success either. “You want to make sure you have enough fuel in the tank to get through your workout, but not too much that it leads to GI distress”, says  MyFitnessPal Registered Dietitian Elle Penner, M.P.H, R.D, and recent marathoner. She gives us some tips for fueling pre- and post-run.

Smoothie

Beforehand
A carbohydrate-rich snack 30 to 60 minutes before you start is always the right idea to fuel before your run. What are good options? You can grab a piece of fruit, a slice of toast with jam, or a low-fiber granola bar. “Be sure to avoid high-fiber and fat – they take more effort for your body to digest and can cause an upset stomach while striding”, underlines Penner. And we have some more smart tips for you:

  • Don’t drink orange or grapefruit juice, because of the acidity which can irritate your stomach.
  • Instead, drink a glass of water to help digest your snack before and, of course, to hydrate.
  • What you also can do is hydrate with diluted sports drink – the carbohydrates will help you keep going during your longer runs.

Afterwards
Yes – you’ve finished! Now you have to re-fuel with a snack or meal containing complex carbohydrates and protein. Important: You should fuel up within 1 hour of your sweat session to encourage muscle repair and to replenish glycogen stores. “A piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts is all you need after a run lasting 60 minutes or less, but you’ll want to have something more substantial after longer distances and harder efforts,” Penner suggests. Additionaly we have some post-training meal ideas for you:

  • How about an omelette made with whole eggs and sautéed veggies (think: spinach, tomato, caramelized onions), a slice of whole grain toast, and a cup of reduced-fat milk?
  • We love: A smoothie made with Greek yogurt, sliced avocado, frozen berries, a dollop of peanut butter, or flax or chia seeds for a dose of healthy fats.
  • Must try: Oatmeal (made with milk for added protein), topped with dried or fresh fruit, nuts, or nut butter
  • Always tasty: A Greek yogurt parfait with granola, fruit, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds

Let us know about your go-to pre-run snack and what you reach for when you’re done. Tell us in the comments below!

This guest posting was written by MyFitnessPal – the fastest, easiest to use calorie counter app. For more content and nutrition information check out the MyFitnessPal Blog!

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