How Long Should I Wait After Eating to Run?
The question has divided runners for years, with most agreeing that it’s best to run in the late afternoon or evening when you’re feeling full.
Some say it’s important to go light on the run and not exert yourself too much, while others say it’s best to run at your usual pace. And they’re all right.
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s tempting to go for a run as soon as you’ve eaten a meal. After all, running is so good for you, right?
But when you eat too soon the nutrients in your food are digested too quickly, and the insulin response to those nutrients is too strong, which can mean that your body burns stored fat instead of muscle.
You can typically exercise about an hour after eating. When exercising, your stomach acid is low, and you don’t want to keep your body digesting when you’re working out.
You don’t want your stomach to have food in it when you run, as that can lead to cramps and GI issues. Eating one to two hours before running is best, or you can eat a small snack shortly before running if you’re feeling a little hungry.
Should You run before or after eating dinner or breakfast?
The topic of whether you should run before or after eating dinner or breakfast is a hot topic in the fitness industry.
A study conducted by two researchers in 2011 showed that there was a link between eating before a run and the amount of fat in the blood (LDL cholesterol).
The study found that people who ate breakfast had blood cholesterol levels that were 6.9 percent lower than those who had had dinner before a run.
The researchers concluded that the reduction in blood cholesterol was a result of the body using the protein that was in the food that was eaten.
Should I run before or after breakfast?
- Morning runners
The most important meal of the day is always breakfast. If you can manage to run after a good breakfast, you will have a much easier time of it.
This is because you will have burned off your body’s carbohydrate reserves and have started to burn fat, but you will still have had enough energy from the breakfast to be able to run.
Should I run before or after dinner?
- Evening runner
To answer the question “Should I run before or after dinner?”, it is necessary to take into account lots of factors, including your body type, the distance and the time you intend to run, and your eating habits.
This is how it works. You can either do a workout before or after dinner. If you have a large meal (midnight snack not included), you should run before dinner. If you have a small meal, you can run after dinner.
Pros and cons of running before eating
Running before eating has many benefits, including increasing the metabolism, which could help you burn fat and calories faster.
Running on an empty stomach may result in dizziness, weakness, and nausea. Eating something before a run can prevent these side effects.
The problem is, a lot of people are in the habit of eating as soon as they run out of energy, and the longer you go without food, the lower your blood sugar will get. Then, when you do eat, you risk the high blood sugar caused by eating too quickly.
Pros and Cons of running after eating
Running after eating is a controversial topic for runners and those who have recently consumed food.
The theory is that it helps to burn off some of the calories you’ve just consumed in a faster way. But, is it safe? And, if it is, is it really worth it? Eating and running are both good exercise for the body. However, it is suggested that you run at least 30 minutes after eating to avoid stomach cramping.
When you exercise after eating you can use the energy from the food you’ve already eaten. You burn more calories than you would if you did the exercise on an empty stomach, and you don’t have to worry about your energy levels dipping while you run.
Cons of running after eating include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Food to eat after running
Sometimes the last few miles of a long distance run can be the most challenging, especially if you’ve been out running for hours on end.
When your body is breathing faster than your feet can and your muscles are aching, it can sometimes be hard to know what to eat to give it the energy it needs to get through the last few miles.
When you’re all done running it is essential to refuel your body with the right foods to help it recover.
Pre-run meal. Before you head out the door to start your evening run, consider what you will be eating. It might be logical to sit down for a cup of coffee and toast and perhaps some black pudding and eggs.
But this is not the best way to fuel your body. Your body works best on a constant supply of food. Go for a few hours without eating and your body will begin to use up its stored glycogen.
Once this is used up you will run out of energy and feel the fatigue set in. Do not be afraid to eat a good meal before a run, as this will make sure you are fuelled.
- Salmon with rice and asparagus
The best pre-run meal for me is salmon with rice and asparagus. I find the latter pair together to be very nutritious, with the rice providing carbohydrates, the asparagus providing a huge amount of vitamins and minerals.
The salmon too provides a nice protein boost, as well as the omega-3s, which are great for overall health.
- Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
An example of a pre-run meal would be Greek yogurt with fruit and granola. This meal is high in protein, which provides the energy needed to run and granola provides carbohydrates which are needed to fuel the body.
- Oatmeal snack
Oatmeal is a good food source for energy and it is rich in fiber. You should include oatmeal as part of your pre-run meal.
Oatmeal is a healthy food that is a good source of complex carbohydrates. It is high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol by binding with bile acids in the digestive tract.
Oatmeal is made by grinding the oat groats into a coarse meal. Oatmeal is also a good source of protein, calcium, iron, and zinc. Oatmeal can be eaten as a hot breakfast cereal with honey, sugar, and milk.
- Penne with chicken and broccoli
A penne with chicken and broccoli is important for a pre-run meal. The reason is that it contains carbohydrates, protein and fiber.
- Toast with peanut butter
If you are running and using a pre-run meal with toast with peanut butter, aim to eat it around 30-45 minutes before you are planning on running. This will help to easily digest the food while you are exercising which will aid your energy levels.
- Light snack
A pre-run meal should be light and nutritious, so that it does not upset your stomach during your workout. During the hour before exercise, check your blood sugar level, and eat a meal with carbohydrates to keep it stable.
A light snack is the best option to fuel up before a run.
Pre-workout snacks are the cornerstone of any successful workout. They help to give you energy and help to prevent that uncomfortable feeling of being low on energy in the middle of your workout.
The energy you get from pre-workout snacks can be the difference between a successful workout and a disappointing one.
- High-fibre foods
Eating high-fibre foods a couple of hours before a run can help to avoid cramping due to a low-fibre diet. Eat whole-grain cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables. Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fibre daily so you can have more health benefits.
- Sodium-rich foods
A pre-workout snack is the food prepared before a workout session to replenish energy stores. Sodium-rich foods are used before a workout to replenish sodium stores in muscle tissue.
- Super food
Superfoods are health foods that are good for your body and provide more than one health benefit. Superfoods are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and hence are recommended for good health.
- Digestible foods
A pre-workout snack is an ideal way to use food to prepare your body for exercise. They should be simple to digest.
It’s best to eat some easily digestible foods such as fruit, fruit juices, cereal or an energy bar.
So you’ve run a few miles, and you’re probably pretty hungry at this point. You’ll want to eat something that will give you some energy, but you don’t want to eat too much. This is where a post-run meal comes in.
After your run, you should have a heavy meal that includes carbohydrates and proteins.
- High-quality carb source
For proper recovery after a run, you should eat a high-quality carb source such as oatmeal, white rice, or potatoes. Drinking a recovery shake with added protein and carbs is another good option.
- Regular yogurt
Yogurt is a good source of calcium which is essential for the runner’s recovery.
- Balance diet foods
After running, keep an eye on your diet food by eating a balance diet including carbohydrates and proteins.
You can include some healthy balance foods such as sprouts.