Figured out how to eat before jogging so that you can run easily and without digestion. Spoiler alert: there won’t be one recipe for everyone, but our recommendations will help you determine what is right (or not) for you.
Determining the optimal meal time
First, you need to understand how long before you start jogging you can eat without consequences in the form of heaviness in the stomach and other unpleasant sensations. The intensity of food digestion is different for everyone: 30-60 minutes is enough (lucky!). Others have to wait 2-3 hours before taking the first step out the door.
How to find your optimal “window”? Experimentally, in practice. Try to eat a medium serving of 90 minutes before starting your run. If your workout went without stomach discomfort, try moving your meal 15–20 minutes closer the next time.
Likewise, if you have digestive problems while jogging, try eating 15 to 20 minutes later. So, moving at intervals of 15 minutes, you can determine a specific time that suits your body.
Determining Calorie Requirements for Different Types of Running Workouts
Runners have a slight tendency to exaggerate their calorie intake: “Well, I trained and honestly worked this big plate of pasta.”
The average athlete weighing 70 kg burns only 500-600 calories in 60 minutes of running, depending on the pace and level of effort. Plus, the muscles already have enough fuel (glycogen), which is enough for 2 hours of their work. For a more accurate calculation, you can use this calorie calculator…
This means that you should only need a small snack 30–90 minutes before your workout on normal light running days, so you don’t feel hungry and slightly raise your blood sugar.
If you prefer morning jogging, your muscle glycogen stores will be slightly less (after all, at least 6-8 hours pass after dinner). But if you are not planning a long run or intense tempo workout, you should not worry about a lack of calories anyway.
We make a “black list” of products
You will have to select, as usual, empirically. But there are common criteria, which should correspond to a jogging snack:
- low fat content
- low fiber content
- low protein content
- high carbohydrate content
Protein and fat slow down the digestion process. It helps you feel full for a long time after a meal, but it’s not a great pre-workout choice – it needs foods that are easy to digest.
Too much fat or protein before a run can cause flank pain, nausea, and a feeling of heaviness. High-fiber foods sometimes cause cramps and flatulence.
Drinking your favorite cup of coffee is also best after a run: drinks with a high caffeine content can cause heart palpitations, abdominal pain, and frequent urge to use the toilet.
Foods to avoid before running:
- broccoli, artichokes, and other high fiber vegetables
- apples, pears, and other high-fiber fruits
- caffeine (in large quantities)
- cheese, cottage cheese, red meat, bacon, and other high protein foods
- spicy food
- dairy products – kefir, yogurt, milk, ice cream
Choosing the right option for a carbohydrate snack
Foods high in carbohydrates are the best choice before a run. The body receives glucose from carbohydrates – the main source of energy during exercise. Glucose circulates in the bloodstream, where it can be used for immediate energy or stored as readily available glycogen in the muscles and liver.
Choose natural products whenever possible, save sports gels for competition.
Here are some of the most popular cross-country snacks.
Before your morning run of medium intensity and duration:
- some sweet tea with cookies
- muesli bar
Before a tempo or interval workout:
- toast with jam or peanut butter and banana
- oatmeal with jam
- pancakes / waffles with jam
Before a long workout:
- sweet potato
- oatmeal with banana and dried fruit
- cereals – buckwheat, rice, quinoa with a small amount of vegetables
These same products will be a suitable dinner if you have a long workout in the morning.
Before the competition
The main rule is not to eat foods that you have not tried before, and the stomach’s reaction to them is unknown.
For many amateur runners, the most popular food before a race is oatmeal with jam.
Important: dinner before the race should also be light. Too much fatty or spicy food the day before can hurt sleep quality and remind you of yourself with stomach cramps when you run. And food that is too salty will dehydrate you more quickly.
Don’t forget about hydration
Of course, you shouldn’t drink decalitres of water just before jogging, but you don’t need to give up drinking completely. You can drink 200 ml of liquid 30-40 minutes before training. The most suitable options are still mineral water, sweet tea, or a sports drink.