Eating habits before and after a run

So you started running and now you are on a “see food diet” but amazingly you pick up weight and just can’t understand why.

Face it just because you started exercising it does not give you a free pass to eat whatever, whenever you want, exercise helps burn calories but life is all about balance.

If I use my current measurements I burn roughly 32 calories per km. Use this calculator to work out your own

So in order to work off my 55g Barone chocolate which is 228 calories, I need to run 7.1km. Taking in consideration that I am doing cardio you stop burning calories as soon as you start exercising.

There is, however a loop-hole, if you build muscles through weight training exercises or heavy weight lifting your body will keep on burning calories throughout the day.

Nutrition before a run.

Everybody is different, my husband can eat and start a run a few minutes later.  I,  however, need at least one hour after I have eaten anything before running (I did found out the other day that this rule counts for some fruit juices as well.)  It is best to test out what works for you on training runs.  It is however, a very good idea to have something in the tank before a run.

You also might want to consider carb loading before a big race, we have done it and not only do you seem to have more energy on race day itself, you perform better and don’t bonk that easily.

It is also not a good idea to take too much fluids before your run,  loo’s are not always plentiful.

Pre-run snack ideas.

Small Snacks

Energy bars – These tend to be light on the stomach and easy to digest. Avoid diet products, as these often cut the carbs, which is exactly what you’re looking for.

Natural energy bars – A Granola bar is a great way to eat more natural, but still, stick with a light snack filled with carbs.

Banana – High in carbs and potassium

Small bowl of oatmeal – while oatmeal tends to have a good amount of fiber, it can be a good solution for runners who can’t eat close to running but need something small to sustain them.

Medium Snacks

Toast with peanut butter and jelly – There is a reason your mom always gave you toast when you had an upset stomach. It’s easy to digest and light on the stomach.

Wheat bagel with Peanut butter or cream cheese – A little more substantial than the toast with a small dab of protein to stave off hunger.

Yogurt and granola – A power pack of simple and complex carbs

Nutrition during a run.


So you will be running more than 2 hours straight (I hit the wall at 2h30) and you need to refuel your muscles in order to prevent bonking, question is what do you eat, drink or slurp down that will keep you going?

You will need something that is easily digestible and you also want to replace electrolytes that you lost sweating.

Choose specially designed sports gels and isotonic drinks, or try bananas, oranges, honey, dried fruit, baked potatoes,  or gummy sweets such as jelly beans. Fuel every 45-60 minutes during a long run, with around 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (120-140 calories) per hour (e.g. a large banana, white bread honey sandwich or energy gels), and don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and electrolytes.

Quote from RunnersConnect by coach Jeff

“I think most runners severely over estimate the number of calories they burn and the amount of carbohydrates they need to complete runs under 90 minutes.The body has enough glycogen stored in the muscles from your normal diet to run at marathon pace for right around 2 hours.

This means that you don’t need to load up on carbohydrates or calories before most of your normal training sessions, but might want a little extra fuel for harder workouts or long runs”

Nutrition after you run.

You have a window of around 30 mins when the body is primed to replenish its carbohydrate stores and soak up muscle-repairing protein after a run. Chocolate milk is a good mix of protein and carbs, or whizz up a smoothie with lots of fruit. Drink plenty of fluids too to replace water and electrolytes lost through sweat.



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