Athletic preparation and recovery

What to Eat Before Running? Tips and Examples

cosa mangiare prima

Why eat before running?

Knowing what to eat before going for a run is important to provide the body with the necessary energy for physical exertion: ensuring the right "fuel" for the body before a run helps achieve satisfactory performance levels. There are some foods that help the body during exertion: they are the ones the body burns when engaging in physical activity. To avoid the body burning proteins or fat reserves, it is essential not to run on an empty stomach and to consume the right calorie intake before training (at least 60 minutes before the run).

What does our body need during physical activity and how does it use it?

During running, the body uses the energy that the body itself provides: sugars and fats are the main elements it burns to provide the energy necessary for physical activity. If the body does not receive enough energy from external sources, it will have to use the proteins and fat reserves in the body, causing a significant decrease in energy available for running. It is important to know which foods to consume before training to avoid an energy deficit and ensure optimal performance. Additionally, having an energy bar on hand can be useful before and during training. They are perfect because they are rich in carbohydrates, particularly low in fats, and available in various flavors.

What to eat before a run?

Some foods are ideal to eat before a run, as they provide energy and strength for workouts:
  • Eating a banana before running with a jar of low-fat yogurt can be an excellent solution (yogurt only if you tolerate dairy well, otherwise it is better to avoid it);
  • Crackers with cheese (again, only if you digest dairy properly; otherwise, they might upset your stomach);
  • Barley flakes;
  • Some rice with a drizzle of oil;
  • A toast.
There are also mineral salts, vitamins, and carbohydrate supplements designed for athletes, to be taken before and during training so as not to run out of energy.

What to eat before a morning run?

Many runners prefer to train in the morning, which could mean getting up early to allow for adequate digestion of breakfast. In this case, it is recommended to drink a fruit smoothie or freshly squeezed juice, but avoid covering long distances. Before running in the morning, it is advisable to consume some dried fruit, which also protects against free radicals, a toast with honey, or a piece of dark chocolate. For breakfast, before running, you can also add one of the multifruit or coffee-flavored energy bars. One solution could be to eat a lot of carbohydrates the night before dinner: rice or potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

What to eat before a marathon?

The same recommendations apply to those preparing for a marathon. Before a running race, it is advisable to eat light and easily digestible foods: the pre-marathon breakfast should therefore include whole grain bread with a little butter and jam, and rice cakes with bresaola or salmon. Fruit, on the other hand, is not recommended due to its high fiber content. It is advisable to have breakfast about 2 hours before the start and take carbohydrate-based protein bars about an hour before starting to run. And, of course, do not forget to drink regularly during the race.

What to avoid before going for a run

If there are foods more suitable and energy bars made with specific formulations to ensure energy support before and during physical activity, there are also other foods to avoid before a run. Some examples?
  • Fried foods: fried and fatty foods are tasty but should be avoided when it comes to physical training.
  • Eggs: while recommended after training, eggs should be avoided before running because they have long digestion times.
  • Cheese and dairy products: although rich in protein, milk, cheese, and yogurt before a run or physical exertion can cause discomfort and stomach aches, as not all people digest them easily.
  • Sweets: sweets should also be avoided before a workout for the same reason: they require prolonged digestion times. Although the initial glycemic intake may seem like an advantage, what happens when it fades? There is a considerable drop in energy, which is difficult to manage.
To avoid energy drops during physical activity, it is recommended to use energy bars to consume during the race: the absence of preservatives and the low fat content promote the digestibility of the bar, while ensuring an important carbohydrate intake to provide immediate energy.   Resources: Italia Runners https://www.italiarunners.it/cosa-mangiare-prima-e-dopo-la-corsa/ Run Lovers https://runlovers.it/2013/cosa-mangiare-prima-di-correre/

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