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Can anyone advise re what to eat&drink before/during/after running?

(18 Posts)
flumperoo Sun 19-May-13 20:57:52

I've been into running on and off for the last 2 years or so, but I'm doing it more regularly at the moment, averaging around 20-25miles a week. My problem is that I know I'm not doing the right things re eating and drinking.

I feel like I need to have an empty stomach when running and so I don't eat or drink for at least 2 hours before and not at all during running. If I eat anything closer to running then I feel sick and if I drink anything then I get bad side stitches.

I've been enjoying 10mile runs and would like to do a half marathon and then a full marathon, but I think the lack of food and drink can't be good for me. So, what should I be eating/drinking and when? How can I get enough energy without feeling sick, and enough liquid without getting stitches? Also, are running gels any good?

Mitchy1nge Mon 20-May-13 12:55:19

I run barely more than half your distance and have half a banana before and the rest when I can face it, after the run. I drink water as I go but I'm always always thirsty exercise or not. My ultramarathon running freak friend just eats sandwiches while he runs shock

yani Mon 20-May-13 13:02:50

I'm new to running, recently joined a club where we were told to eat something light eg peanut butter or scrambled egg on toast at least two hours beforehand.

I think for longer distance runners, anything with carbohydrates is reccommended.

Belugagrad Mon 20-May-13 16:00:18

I'm investigating gels at the moment so will get bak to you! I'm the same, run about 30 miles a week and don't eat or drink but something needs to change for marathon training.

flumperoo Mon 20-May-13 20:23:29

Thanks for the responses. Would welcome any advice. It seems as though every other runner I pass is drinking from a bottles as they run along, or at least holding one.

yani Mon 20-May-13 21:58:13

Dp does long distance. He has a camelpack with just water & snacks occasionally on jelly babies for a short acting sugar / energy boost.

5madthings Mon 20-May-13 22:01:31

I am the same as you can't eat for an hour or two before running, I do drink before I run and if its hot I tale a bottle of water to sip as I run.

glitch Mon 20-May-13 22:09:30

I take a water bottle with me and add a nunn tablet (hydrating electrolyte thingy) to it if I'm doing over about 10km. I also have gels if going on longer runs. I like GU evergy gels as they are quite solid / squidgy. There are more liquid ones but I tend to get them all over myself.
Jelly babies are a must before racing grin

glitch Mon 20-May-13 22:10:15

not evergy

MacaYoniAndCheese Mon 20-May-13 22:23:05

What time of day are you running? I think that plays a big part. I go about an hour after breakfast (veggie omelette and coffee with cream) and then have lots of water and maybe half a banana and more coffee when I come back...that seems to hold me over until a balanced lunch (more veggies, chicken or fish, avocado or nuts, yogurt). I used to have a bagel or oatmeal for breakfast but feel much better without them now. Protein and veggies or fruit seems to sit much better in my stomach during running than a starchy breakfast.

I also try to hydrate a lot the night before running and very first thing in the morning so that I,m not running on a full-bladder. If it's very hot, I plan a route that loops back by the house, where I've left a water bottle on the porch for water breaks.

flumperoo Mon 20-May-13 22:54:52

Thanks again for the responses. I usually run a couple of hours after breakfast (usually eggs on toast) at the weekends or a couple of hours after eating some porridge after work in the evening. This seems fine, but thinking I might need something more substantial closer to a run if I'm to build up to much longer runs. I'll give the jelly babies and energy gels a go though.

I really can't imagine having water anytime before or during a run, but I guess I'll just have to give it a go, see how I get on and hopefully build up to drinking more, although I hadn't really thought about the having to use the toilet issue smile

fascicle Tue 21-May-13 09:44:14

I don't think you're doing anything wrong. From memory, the body can store enough carbohydrate for 1.5 to 2 hours of exercise. I think it varies from person to person how close to a run they can eat. As long as you're hydrated before and after, there's no need at this stage to take water with you if you don't want to.

If you increase your mileage, then you would have to consider hydration and fuelling. People tolerate things differently (drinks, gels, other fuel stuffs), so it's a question of seeing what works for you. Here is a Guardian discussion on some of the products available and what they do:

One important thing is not to overhydrate (more dangerous than being underhydrated).

edwinamerckx Tue 21-May-13 11:15:16

As long as you are eating normally, then a banana half an hour before you go for a run, even a long one, is adequate. Before a big event (triathlon, sportive) I usually have porridge and scrambled eggs for breakfast, followed by a banana half an hour before the race. Make sure you are fully hydrated.

It's a good idea to eat something if you are running longer than a 1.5 hours - although your body easily has enough glycogen stores to keep you going, if you are working hard you are using up blood glucose quicker than the body can convert glycogen into glucose and so you may bonk. Gels are convenient, so too are jelly babies and dried fruit. The SIS gels have the advantage that they contain quite a lot of water too.

For shorter distances, unless it is hot and you are sweating you don't need to drink much - a lot of the people you see padding around the park with a water bottle are using it as a mental crutch rather than because they really need it (nothing wrong with that.) For longer, harder, hotter runs, then taking a bottle with an isotonic drink in it is a good idea - I like Nuun which comes as tablets which you just dissolve in the water bottle. It replaces the salt that you lose through sweating and tastes quite nice.

I would not advise drinking calories so steer clear of 'sports' drinks.

In the 'golden hour' after exercise it's important to rehydrate, and get some protein down you to take advantage of the anabolic state you are in and build muscle tissue. A tuna or egg wrap is fine, or just a protein shake if you are pushed for time.

There are also some good recovery drinks which contain protein, carbs and vitamin C to help with muscle repair - they work for me but again, it may be psychological. I only use them after a hard gym session, or after a longer event as they seem to help prevent muscle wastage.

flumperoo Tue 21-May-13 20:44:13

Thanks again for all the helpful advice. I guess I'll stop worrying that I'm doing completely the wrong thing. I'll have some banana before running, maybe try a gel and/or jelly babies for longer runs and make sure I'm hydrating & eating properly after a run.


Anifrangapani Tue 21-May-13 20:49:37

There is a school of thought that says protein just befor and after. I also carry some jelly babies with.

I don't carry a drink - but I fell run so just drink from streams if I need to.

flumperoo Fri 24-May-13 18:33:26

I've now got some nuun electrolyte tablets and SIS gels. My plan for this weekend's run (10miles depending on weather) is to have a banana an hour before, a gel 5 miles in and an electrolyte drink afterwards. Does this sound like a good plan? There's so much conflicting advice at the end of a google search!

Also, after Mo Farah did half the London Marathon, he said that he'd made a mistake and messed up his drinks. What did he mean by this? Is there that much difference between drinks? How did he mess up?

fascicle Sat 25-May-13 10:07:16

I think Mo Farah was talking about the logistics of picking up drinks whilst running, and getting the right drink - I believe the elite runners have their own individual drinks of choice prepared/labelled beforehand.

flumperoo Sat 25-May-13 14:51:22

Ok, that explains it more.
I did a 10mile run today. I couldn't stomach a banana beforehand but had eaten eggs on toast 2 hours earlier. I hydrated with a nuun tablet in water an hour before my run and another one after and I had a SIS gel after 5 miles, which was pretty palatable and went down no problems with no adverse effects.

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