7 Foods You Should Never Eat Before A Run
It’s important to eat well the night before a run. Runners also know it’s important to have a healthy pre-run snack so that we aren’t running on empty. But there are certain foods to never eat before a run.
As a rule of thumb, runners need to hold off from hitting the trails two hours after eating a large meal. This assures that the body has enough time to digest the food.
But when it comes to having a snack, it’s okay to eat something little 30 minutes before. This includes a handful of nuts, a banana, a piece of toast with peanut butter or a smoothie.
Keep in mind that if the workout is less than an hour, there is no real need to eat beforehand. Longer distance runner should eat to ward off hunger when in between meals, fuel, and prevent the drop of blood sugar as to not impede performance.
Just make sure you stay away from these foods that leave runners regretting every bite.
1. Don’t Do Dairy
How can we resist a mid-day coffee with cream? While many runners enjoy a cup of coffee for its added energy jolt to get them ready for a run, it’s best to skip the cream.
Also skip the milk, cheese, butter or cream.
That’s right, don’t do dairy before a run.
Besides the fact that many people are lactose intolerant or have allergies to milk products, many also have sensitives. This means feeling bloating, gassy or needing to use the bathroom.
Many find that yogurt is softer on the stomach since it isn’t as high in lactose so that yogurt-based smoothie might be okay.
2. Say No To Spice
Some like it hot.
But eating spicy food before a run is a major no, no.
With spicy foods, there is a higher chance of suffering from heartburn, indigestion or worst—major stomach problems.
If a craving for some hot wings, baked jalapeño poppers or a spicy tuna roll, wait until after the run is over. And yes, that means your favorite Mexican or Thai dish too.
If the food has lots of flavor and seasonings, it’s a good idea to skip it before a run to avoid stomach irritations with limited time to fully digest.
3. Don’t Go For Greens
Runners should aim to get their greens in throughout the week. But having a spinach salad before a run isn’t the smartest idea.
The same is true for broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes. This is because these are high in fiber.
Fiber helps things move along and out in the digestive tract, so try not to eat these foods before a run.
Although not green, other high-fiber foods include dark-colored vegetables like carrots and beets, avocado, raspberries, lentils, beans, and chickpeas.
4. The Wrong Carbs
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. But munching on the wrong kinds of carbs before a run is a bad idea.
Carbs break down to sugar, glucose. But don’t justify eating a donut pre-run as getting some carbs in.
There are “good” and “bad” carbs. That right there is an example of a “bad” one.
Never eat foods with refined sugar before a run. This includes things like Lucky Charms and other fun breakfast cereals, donuts, cookies, and pastries. It also means those protein bars runners think are healthy are also out.
Learn to read labels and notice how many protein bars are full of refined sugar.
The idea that having a cookie is fine because the runner is just going to burn it off isn’t the best. That’s because it is just empty calories.
Not only is the body not getting the fuel it needs, but also blood sugar levels spike first then quickly fall. This is not a good thing when then going for a run.
5. Never Eat Fat Before A Run
Fatty foods get a bad reputation. There are good fats—like avocado—that we need in our diets.
But runners should never eat fatty foods before a run. This is because it takes a long time to digest foods high in fat.
This means a burger for lunch shouldn’t be on the menu.
7. Hold The Fried Food
Same is true for anything fried.
Think of how sluggish eating a greasy meal makes us. Now imagine running after that. Chances are the runner will feel slow and sluggish.
Our bodies need nourishment and healthy nutrients in order to be able to power through intense workouts. So while some carbs (think sweet potato) is good, runners should not eat French fries before a run.
This only causes belly bloating, which then reduced the blood flow to the stomach. This then leads to more stomach issues. Just hold off on greasy, fried food.
6. Skip the Caffeine
Some studies suggest caffeine helps boost performance. But too much is a bad thing.
Just do yourself a favor and skip the caffeine before a run. This means no Red Bull or Monster energy drinks. It also means skipping gels or chews that contain caffeine for those with stomachs looking to avoid GI distress.
A cup of coffee in the morning should be fine for some, but others might want to wait until post-run.
Conclusion: Don’t Eat These And Your Stomach Will Thank You
These a the main foods (and drink) that runners should not eat before they go out for a run.
Think any high fiber fruits and foods, bad carbs, too much caffeine, and fats. Stick to simple and nutritious.
When it comes to chowing down on a full meal, the plan runs out accordingly to give enough time to digest.
And don’t forget to be drinking water all day long.