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Should You Eat Before Running Or Not?

As with pretty much every element of running, each individual runner is different. Unfortunately, there is no all-consuming philosophy of how to eat well for a run: some runners can’t head out without something to line their stomach, whilst others can’t run with even the smallest amount of food in their bellies without it causing stomach distress.

There are a few nuggets of information that we can all learn from when it comes to eating for runs.

Eating For Different Runs

There are three main types of runs you need to consider, all with varying requirements when it comes to what food to eat to fuel them: easy/recovery runs, long runs and workouts.

Recovery runs are a comfortable, conversational pace lasting no longer than 60 mins. Long runs vary by pace but are generally longer than 90 minutes. Workout runs are short in duration but require a much higher intensity than the other two runs.

Each of the different runs require different fuelling as they need different physiological responses.

Reasons To Eat Before a Run

·         A small amount of food before exercise will help prevent hypoglycaemia by increasing your blood sugar levels, avoiding light-headedness, blurred vision and fatigue.

·         Food helps absorb some of the juices that can cause discomfort.

·         Pre-exercise snacks are last chances to fill your muscles with the energy they need. Food eaten in advance will be stored as muscle glycogen, whilst food eaten an hour before exercise can be used as instant food.

Reasons Not To Eat Before A Run

·         Eating on an empty stomach can enhance your body’s ability to use fat as a fuel source allowing you to burn more body fat. While this is true, remember that burning body fat to fuel your run doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose weight. To lose body fat you still need to have an overall calorie deficit by the end of the day.

·         Avoiding an upset stomach is one of the main reasons people choose to have a bite to eat before a run. Avoid foods that cause distress like fatty fried-foods and stick with high energy, stomach-calming foods.

Always listen to your body. It is the best way to figure out the perfect type of training for you and your body. You don’t want to take part in any running events not feeling 100%. 

16th October 2018, 8:59
Page updated 16th Oct 2018, 09:00
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