Snacks To Eat Before A Morning Run – In the weeks leading up to a big race, there can be a lot of questions about what to do to make the day run smoothly and successfully. And two of the most common confusions: What do I eat before running? And how can I refuel during the race?
Of course, it’s really important to push your body to perform, whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon. But getting the fuel right can take some trial and error, and it’s easy to get lost in all the information about what will work best.
Snacks To Eat Before A Morning Run
But proper nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated. Here we have the basics of what you need to know about fueling for a race, no matter the distance.
Workout Nutrition Explained. What To Eat Before, During, And After Exercise.
From general fuel rules to food and produce, to how to tailor your nutrition plan to fit your specific race distance, we’ve got all the information you need to feel great as you cross the finish line.
Your fuel plan starts the day (or even the week) before the race and Nancy Clark, R.D., author
, suggests focusing on adding more carbohydrate-rich foods to your diet, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. She suggests eating these foods after you exercise (say, run), so your muscles have enough time to store them as glycogen. Simple changes to your usual meals will help you eat more carbohydrates throughout the day. Try eating oatmeal for breakfast instead of eggs, a sandwich for lunch instead of a salad, or add rice to dinner.
Allison Koch, R.D.N., a sports dietitian and certified running coach, says many runners make the mistake of not refueling before a race. Just like your meal plan the day before, the main focus the morning of your race is to fill up on simple carbohydrates that digest well. “The further you go, the more you’ll need,” says Koch. Oatmeal with fruit or a bagel with your favorite nut butter will be a great pre-race meal option.
What To Eat Before A Half Marathon In The Days Before And The Morning Of
A little protein in the mix is also a good idea; you should aim for around 15-20 grams, which you could get from protein powder, nut butters, milk or yogurt. (She Remembers, “Protein builds and repairs muscle, but carbohydrates fuel muscles,” says Clark.) While fruits like berries can help fill you up, don’t overdo it, says Koch. You want to cut down on fiber and fat, both slow-digesting nutrients, the morning before the race to avoid stomach issues.
“Blood sugar feeds your brain. If you have low blood sugar and your brain isn’t being fed well, it’s going to say ‘this isn’t fun and I don’t feel like running,’” says Clark. “The brain controls your entire body. So the goal is to avoid blood sugar drops and start the race with good fuel and maintain it throughout the race.
If you plan on running for 30 to 60 minutes (for example, if you’re running a 5K or, in some cases, a 10K), you probably don’t need any nutrition in between. But for those longer distances, like half marathons and full marathons, you’ll definitely want to eat some calories mid-race to keep your body working at its best.
In one contest, Koch suggests looking for products that contain 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving. So, if you’re running for more than an hour, make sure you’re getting 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates every hour. “Look at the ingredients list and make sure there are multiple sources of carbohydrates,” explains Koch, as this will help your body absorb the fuel. This means a mixture of glucose, fructose and sucrose. (It’s actually easier to get this mix from gels or gums, he says, as more natural foods often contain limited forms of sugar.)
What To Eat Before Running In The Morning
He reminds, the best way to feel good on race day, with more energy and no stomach issues, is to practice fueling during training. This means trying different breakfasts or snacks before your ride, as well as eating the foods you’ll eat on your ride. He then uses these tests to create a race day plan.
“When runners have a plan, they do a better job of fueling than just listening to their body when it’s thirsty or hungry,” says Clark.
Also, don’t forget about hydration. “You wanted to go to the race well hydrated,” says Clark. If you wake up and your urine is dark in color, that’s a good indicator that you should start drinking more. And if it’s really hot, add a little salt to your pre-run snack too.
Tip: Check the race site before the big day so you know where the water pumps are and what fuel they have available so you can plan what to bring accordingly, Clark says. Check out during practice and you can even try the fuel they offer so you’ll be ready to grab it when you get to the start.
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One word: practice. You’ll just know if something feels right before race day. So factor nutrition into your training plan and see how you perform with different foods and products. Also, practice your timing — you may feel better eating something every 40 minutes rather than every 30 minutes.
“People want to make a plan, execute it, know what works and believe in it,” Clark says. “Part of your workout is training your digestive tract.”
Koch agrees, saying, “Just as competitive drinkers train their guts to take in large amounts, runners need to train their guts during training. If you think you can’t accept the diet, you just have to train.”
Here are some stories to read to help you choose fuel and plan for your particular race:
What To Eat Before And After Your Workout
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Since these distances are shorter — probably about an hour, give or take — you probably won’t need to eat during the race. But this means that your nutrition before and after becomes extremely important. As with any race, focus on simple carbohydrates beforehand, says Koch. And eat 60 minutes to two hours before starting.
“You can probably get away with less food than you would for a half or full marathon,” he adds.
If you hate eating before a grueling 5K, Clark suggests drinking a bowl of cereal before bed. As long as you’re taking in carbs the day before, you should be fine with not eating before the race. But you will definitely want to try it during your workout.
Food For Runners: What To Eat Before Your Long Run
›› Need more information on what to eat before a 5K or 10K? Read all about simple fueling strategies that will get you a PR. Plus, here’s what to eat before a 5K race.
When it comes to how often you refuel during a half marathon, you need to consider your preferences. Do you find it easier to consume something based on time or distance? Some people pump every 45 minutes (15 to 20 if you choose water or sports drinks), while others might go for water or sports drinks every three miles and gels or gumdrops every five miles, says Koch, as a general rule.
“Practice on your long runs and follow it through the race,” he says, knowing you’ll add another gas stop when you cover the 13.1 distance.
›› Get answers to all your half marathon nutrition questions, including what to eat before, during and after the race, right here.
What To Eat Before, During, And After Running
Often before a marathon you will have a few hours between the time you wake up and the time you actually start running. If that’s the case for you, you’ll probably want to eat two meals before you start running, Clark says. This might mean eating oatmeal when you wake up and then a PB&J while you wait to start. (Again, try to practice as best you can before a long workout.)
It may seem complicated to create a marathon fueling plan, but Koch provides a general guideline: Drink water (or a sports drink) every mile. And after the first hour, he’s aiming for at least 30 grams of carbs every 30 to 60 minutes. While it might be okay to skip a few stations, it’s better to err on the side of taking more than being conservative. This means you want to have plenty of sports drinks or gels with you. “You can always throw one, but you probably can’t grab the other,” says Koch.
To avoid stomach issues, make sure you’re taking those gels or gummies with water, not a sports drink. Koch suggests testing new products before short workouts to see how they feel, too.
›› For more details on how to plan your marathon fueling schedule, read all about marathon nutrition before, during and after the race. Also, learn what to eat the week before 2/26.
Benefits Of Running In The Morning. Nike.com
Mallory Creveling, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and RRCA Certified Running Coach, joined the Runner’s World and Bicycling team in August 2021. She is
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