Are you planning to go for a early morning jog? You must be wondering what you should eat (and what not) before you embark. This is a million dollar question, answered by millions of doctors, trainers and runners. The list of ‘To Dos’ seems never ending and one might end up getting more confused than certain about what foods are safe to eat just before a run. Well, panic not; here is the solution to your problem.
Why Should You Eat Before You Run?Why should you eat before going for a jog? It is because food provides your body the necessary energy for everything, including running. You need carbohydrates and a lot of fluids for building energy, even if it is not a cross country race you’re running. The better you eat, the better you will perform, be it a racing track or a jogging route.
Experts recommend that a 2 to 4 hour gap is necessary between a large meal and a run, and a 2 hour gap between a small snack and a run. If you don’t give a gap, then you might experience stomach ache, nausea and lethargy. Not following this little guideline can lead to bad consequences.
What To Eat Just Before A Run?Once you have decided to start running, don’t look back. Considering tips like the following ones can save a lot of time and energy. Some foods to eat before a run are:
1. Fruits:Called a poor man’s meal, the banana is so named for a reason. Rich in carbohydrates and potassium, this fruit gives you the much-needed energy during a run, and the potassium and other minerals maintain the balance of electrolytes in the bloodstream. Other fruits like plum, oranges, peaches, etc. prove to be a healthy choice for beginners. They reduce the chances of bloating and digestive problems while running.
2. Refined Carbohydrates:Pasta, white rice and bagels are better choices than whole grains as whole grains cause bloating, a feeling of fullness and GI tract problems, if consumed just before a run. These refined carbs are easy to digest, do not cause bloating and feel light on the stomach.
3. Low-fiber Vegetables:These are easy to digest and low on fiber. Examples of this group include tomatoes, zucchini and pumpkin. These veggies provide ample minerals and prevent ‘food coma’ where you feel too full and lethargic.
4. Milk:Avoid cow’s milk as it contains heavy compounds that are difficult to digest. Opt for non-lactose milk and milk products like soya rice, almond milk and yogurt. The extra minerals and vitamins are highly beneficial for a running session.
5. Chicken:I bet you are glad to read this word here. Chicken provides ample proteins and minerals just when you eat before a run. It also contains selenium (protects the muscles from wasting) and niacin (controls the burning of excess fats). However, just before a run, one should opt only for light chicken dishes like sandwiches, salads and pastas wherein it has been cooked properly.
What To Avoid Before A Run?Now that you know what you can eat before a jog in the morning, let us quickly take you through what you should avoid, to maximize the benefits of those few minutes on the track!
As tempted as you may be, steer clear off that big mug of coffee before you put on your running shoes. A cup of that aromatic coffee before a workout on the track can translate to stomach issues and diarrhea.
2. High Fat Food:Who doesn’t love a deep fried patty inside your hamburger – heavenly right? But if you munch on one before a run, it is bound to sit right in your tummy and make you feel both lethargic and heavy!
3. High Fiber:No, we are not asking you to stop eating high fiber. We all know that high fiber foods like legumes make a nutritious and healthy meal. But chomp on them after a run, not before, for they can cause indigestion and gastrointestinal stress.
Just before you go out and run, remember to keep your body hydrated and relaxed. Do proper warm up exercises to ensure muscle flexibility. Eat only up to the point of satisfaction and not till you overeat. Avoid high fiber foods and fats as they will slow down your progress during the run.
Keep all caffeinated products at bay as caffeine is a known diuretic. The energy spurt will surely be there after a cup or shot of coffee, but in case of a run, a short energy spurt means nothing.
Eat healthy and exercise regularly, for this is the key to good health. Do drop in your feedback below.