Hungry After Running? Here’s How Much You Should Eat
Raise your hand up high if you agree with this statement: running makes me hungry. You are not alone if you always (or almost always) feel hungry after running.
The problem with this is that you end up eating much more than your body actually needs post-run.
So how much should you eat after running? How to avoid overeating? Are some foods better for post-run recovery than others?
Why Does Running Increase My Appetite?
The first reason running makes you hungry is pretty darn simple: calorie burn. If you are training for a distance race, you are unlikely taking in as many calories as you are expending. The body needs the fuel to perform and repair itself after an intense workout.
Your hunger can be psychological. In other words, you might envision that you have “earned” a right to eat certain foods and to eat a lot of food. Don’t fall into this trap.
Dehydration can also make you feel hungry. Make sure you are adequately hydrating while you run unless it is a short one. After a hard workout, drink something before reaching for food.
Increasing the workout load too much and too fast when it comes to the intensity of the workouts can increase cortisol. Better known as the stress hormone, cortisol has higher insulin levels. As a result, blood sugar levels drop, and we crave food, especially full of sugar and fat.
Another main reason is the runner isn’t enough of the right foods. Think wholesome and nutritious, not donuts and pizza and beer. “Bad foods” leave us wanting more sugar and not satisfied.
Stress, poor sleep, and medications can also mess with hunger.
Does Running Increase Metabolism?
Running (and other intense forms of exercise) speeds up your metabolism and weight loss. However, the thought that going for a run speeds up your metabolism for the rest of the day is not proven by science.
An intense form of cardio such as HIIT training can get your metabolism boosted for longer into the day.
Does Running Every Day Make You Hungry?
Running every day can make you hungry if you are not careful. However, if you take time for careful planning, you can avoid this.
Whether you tend to overeat because you think you have earned it or make poor dietary choices because you are very hungry, some tactics can help.
Do You Need to Eat More if You Run?
If you are hungry after running, it is likely because you have worked hard and expended more calories than you took in. Most runners can figure out how many calories they burn running a mile and compensate accordingly.
The extra caloric intake needed is not a lot for those running on average 5 miles or less. Just consider adding a protein shake, a small sandwich, or a bagel with cream cheese to your diet.
If you are training for an ultramarathon, you might need to do some serious eating post-run.
6 Ways to Stop Being Hungry After Running
There are some great ways to stop being hungry after running.
- Hydrate: Drink some water. It can help you rehydrate and be sure your hunger is hunger and not thirst.
- Eat More Protein: Many runners cling to the notion that they need carbohydrates when training. Yes, this is true, and carb-loading should begin two weeks before the race. However, try to instead shift the focus on protein.
- Eat Fiber: Adding healthy, fiber-rich foods to your diet is another great way to keep your body feeling fuller.
- Fuel During Your Run: Proper fueling during the run is also key to not getting bulldozed over by the Rungries after your run. If you take in adequate nutrition when knee-deep in a long-distance run, it not only fuels the exercise you are engaged in it can prevent bad eating choices post-workout.
- Pre-Run Fuel: Although many people like to run fasted, eating before your run is another way to avoid feeling famished after your run.
- Post-Run Fuel: Planning out your post-run meal is a great way to avoid trouble regarding dietary mistakes for the rest of the day.
10 Post-Run Meal Options
To avoid making poor dietary choices all day long after a run, we put together some post-run meal options to help you out.
- Greek yogurt with fruit
- Whole-grain bagel with turkey and cheese
- Protein shake or chocolate milk
- Fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt
- Baked potato with cottage cheese
- Granola and yogurt
- Peanut butter toast
- Chicken breast with grilled veggies
- Ham & cheese omelet with wheat toast
- Protein bar
Are you wondering what to eat after a big run? Just a bit more!
If you adequately fuel your body while running, you don’t need too many more calories after a longer run than a shorter one.
Just be smart before, during, and post-run.
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