How to Eat Before, During and After Running

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Eating before you run helps prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), stave off hunger, fuel your muscles and give mental assurance that your body is well fueled. Depending on what you're running, what you eat during and after can also be very important.

Things You'll Need

  • Running Foods (gels And Bars)
  • Running/sports Drinks
  • Eat high-carbohydrate meals daily to keep your muscles fueled.

  • Avoid sugary foods, such as candy and soda, within an hour before hard exercise. Instead, choose high-starch, low-fat foods - bread, crackers and pasta - since they tend to digest easily.

  • Allow adequate time for digestion - three to four hours for a large meal, two to three hours for a smaller meal and less than an hour for a small snack.

  • Stick with liquid foods if digestion is a problem.

  • Eat familiar foods before a race. Don't try anything new.

  • Consume sports gels or sports drinks during your workout or race if you're running 90 minutes or more. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids throughout.

  • Replenish immediately after exercise with a glass of juice or other high-carbohydrate foods. Follow up with a high-carbohydrate meal, especially after a race or hard workout.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't eat before a race if it makes you nervous. Instead, eat extra the night before.
  • Bring nonperishable foods - bananas, dried fruit or bagels - if you're traveling to a run and won't be able to eat immediately after the workout or race.
  • Use high-carbohydrate sports drinks to supplement a healthy diet, not to consume as a food replacement.
  • If you have any condition which would impair or limit your ability to engage in physical activity, please consult a physician before attempting this activity. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

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