Some tips on eating in preparation for the long runs ahead. If you get it right it can make such a difference to how you feel on the run!
Exactly what you eat before a run is a matter of personal preference and what your body is used to to a certain extent. Other factors to consider are the time of the run, the distance you intend to run, the speed of the run and the weather conditions.
When you begin a run, you should feel neither hungry nor full up. You don't want to eat immediately before your run because it may lead to cramping. This happens because the blood is diverted from your legs to your stomach to digest the food in it. This is why it is a bad idea to swim on a full tummy too! However, running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy.
Your best bet is to eat a light snack or meal about 1.5 to 2 hours
before you start running.
Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fibre and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fual include: a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of porridge or cereal with milk. Stay away from high sugar foods or rich, very fatty, or high-fibre foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress.
'proper meal at lunchtime'
If you are doing an evening run, often after a full day at work, you will need to think about a 'proper' meal at lunchtime. Eating a salad 'Al Desco' is not a good prep for the run to come!! You need brown rice or pasta or baked potatoes and then a snack on the train on the way home. I often have malt bread or Ryvita and hummus but you must see what works for you. Running in the morning is different as the meal the night before is the important one, carbohydrates as before and a light breakfast should stand you in good stead.
On the subject of breakfast, remember you lose fluid if you have too much caffeine so moderate the amount so you don't become dehydrated. If you are thirsty before your run that is not good so drink little and often during the day. Wine the night before won't do you any harm, but not by the bottle! One glass will relax you, any more you may regret!
If you are running for more than 1.5 hours I would suggest using a gel or a fluid replacement during the run. This can be in the form of Lucozade or something similar but they are expensive and it is possible to make up something yourself wich works just as well.
Long Run Homemade Replacement Drinks Recipe
These are designed to quickly replace the fluids which are lost by sweating. They also provide a boost of carbohydrates. The body prefers to use glucose as it's source of energy. Sometimes it is better to consume isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is from a concentrated form of glucose. They are commonly drunk by athletes, especially middle and long distance runners.
Drink One: Fruit Academy
You will need;
200ml ordinary fruit squash, 800ml water and a pinch of salt. Mix them all together in a jug and cool down in the fridge.
Drink Two: Thirst Burst
You will need:
500ml unsweetened fruit juice (orange, apple, pineapple), 500ml water. Mix them all together in a jug and cool down in the fridge.
Drink Three: Feelin' Fruity
You will need:
50-70g sugar, 1 litre of warm water, a pinch of salt, 200ml of sugar free squash. Mix, cool and drink.