With the Gingersneezes Running Group in full swing I am finding out there are so many things that I need to work on personally to help make it a great running experience for everyone. My main thing is that I have to work on properly relaying information, I find that I often get into this mode where I just want to run (which isn’t bad) but in a beginners running groups it is also a good idea to make sure to explain why we are doing what we are doing, and what some best practices are. With that in mind I have been reading a lot, doing a lot of googling and chatting with other physical fitness and running experts/enthusiasts.
Through some of my research it became obvious that I have done an alright job at explaining how to fuel after a run (I will post on this a little later), but it might also be helpful, maybe even more helpful, to know what to eat before you hit the pavement.
We all have different ways of fueling which work for us and once you start running more and testing things out you will find something that works for you. It personally took me a long time, to figure out what was good for my temperamental stomach. Because my stomach is so finicky I didn’t think I was able to eat anything less than 2-3 hours before any form of exercise, once I started running longer distances and I increased my weight training I found it next to impossible not to eat something sooner to when I was working out. If I didn’t eat a small something before a workout I would become exhausted half-way through and the workout would feel next to impossible. I started off small trying a handful of baby carrots, different sugary veggies, a tsp of peanut butter (PB didn’t pan out for me unfortunately) and eventually over time I found something that worked for me. Every once in awhile I will toss something new in the mix to see how my stomach holds up, but I save my testing for gym days instead of long runs, for obvious reasons.
So it is all fine and dandy that I have found something that works for me but what about you? Well I have attempted to put together some guidelines that might help you in your own experimentation and hopefully help to keep you energized and cramp free throughout your workouts.
1. It is good to be satisfied but not stuffed. You don’t want to start your run feeling stuffed to the gills. Everyone has done it, gone a little crazy on the pasta or the cheese and crackers before a run, and the inevitable always happens cramps and indigestion, so do your best to nourish your body without over doing it, your body will thank you for it, and you will have a more pleasant workout.
2. Timing is everything. It is important to find out what times work for you, can your stomach handle food 30 minutes before a run or is it safer to stick to the one or two hour marker. Here are some handy guidelines for testing it out:
- 30 minutes before: try something small and easy to digest like a banana or half an apple. They are high in carbs and sugar, but your body has an easy time processing them so you will be able to get the best out of your workout.
- 1 hour before: try to keep your snack at around 150 calories, because your body has a bit more time try and make your snack a combo of carbs and a little bit of protein. Something like half a whole wheat bagel with some peanut butter, or crackers and cheese are great snacks and will help fuel you for a longer run.
- 2 or more hours before: Have a small meal, be cautious of putting in too many fibrous fruits or veggies and stay away from high fat foods because they can definitely cause some difficulties later on in your run. But having a meal with carbs, protein and healthy fats is totally fine at this point, but remember guideline #1.
3. Hydrate. Yes, I know it isn’t food but water is essential in any workout routine, heck it is essential to life! It is important to make sure that you keep yourself well hydrated throughout your day if you are running in the evening. If you are running in the morning it is important to have some water before your run, and to bring some with you if you are going on a longer run or it is super hot out. Then of course it is very important to drink some more water after your run or workout.
When it all gets broken down feuling for successful workouts and runs isn’t all that complicated, unless you are an athlete I assume there is a lot more intensity involved in that planning. I hope these tips help you to find something that works for you so you can have the most productive and beneficial workouts possible.
Happy Tuesday Everyone.
What type of fuel do you normally use to make sure you get an optimal workout?