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Advice on eating & drinking before running

(16 Posts)
ArgyMargy Sun 08-Feb-15 08:30:01

I worked out early on in my running life that if I ate or drank within 3-4 hours of running I would get massive stitches, so now I'm a bit paranoid and avoid consuming anything. Two years later, do you think I would be ok to have something? It's just that I read lots of things about "fuelling up" before running, whereas I'm running on empty! What do you eat or drink before your runs - I'm talking 5-10k of an evening, not a race. Thanks grin

Suzannewithaplan Sun 08-Feb-15 09:05:16

I don't see any benefit from fueling before a run (unless it's very important that you don't lose any body fat) you are not really running on empty, you have enough stored glycogen and body fat to last for several hours.

ThursdayLast Sun 08-Feb-15 09:09:24

Personally I need to to avoid eating directly before running - I just feel sluggish and uncomfortable and get heart burn.

But it is important to eat something I think. If I do parkrun for instance without breakfast then I can get lightheaded. You need to find what works for you.
An apple and a bit of toast usually does the trick for me, perhaps an hour before I intend to run.

Water water and more water is essential though.

ArgyMargy Sun 08-Feb-15 09:16:10

Thanks! I don't get lightheaded but just wonder if I would be able to go further or faster with more fuel in the tank. I try to have a decent lunch if I'm running after work.

LingDiLong Sun 08-Feb-15 09:20:18

How is your diet generally? If you're eating really well with a good mix of protein and low GI carbs through the day then that will give you more 'fuel in the tank' without worrying too much about what you're eating immediately before you exercise. Same with drinking water, if you're drinking lots of water throughout the day then that will help.

meglet Sun 08-Feb-15 09:22:21

I must eat a snack and drink an hour or so before a run. even a cup of tea and a biscuit gives me a boost.

Thistledew Sun 08-Feb-15 09:29:17

For a 5 or 10k run, you will carry sufficient glycogen stores in your muscles and liver to see no or very little affect on performance due to being low on energy stores.

I do like to have a drink of water before I run and if I am feeling tired after a long day at work etc then I might have a banana or similar more as a psychological boost than a physical one.

I do use energy gels and energy drinks when I am out cycling, but that is because I will be working hard for 3-4 hours, and the body does not store enough readily available energy to last that long.

PetulaGordino Sun 08-Feb-15 09:34:25

I don't eat beforehand - I either exercise in the morning or straight after work so c. 4 hrs after eating minimum. I too would probably get stitches. It's perhaps one of those things that is worth experimenting with? Try having a snack 3 hrs prior for a few days, then two hours prior, etc

I have found though that I have to be careful how much coffee I drink in the hours before running. One cup within a couple of hours before seems to make my stomach literally creak! No stitch, just weird noises

Suzannewithaplan Sun 08-Feb-15 09:39:36

Glycogen storage capacity can be increased by training in a fasted state, we can improve our ability to burn fat and spare stored glycogen.
If you always train fueled the mechanisms for accessing stored fat will be downregulated‎

PetulaGordino Sun 08-Feb-15 09:41:51

I tend to eat low carb so my glycogen is depleted anyway. In that sense it's irrelevant when I eat except for avoiding getting a stitch

26Point2Miles Sun 08-Feb-15 09:44:12

I'm marathon training so doing long runs. You have 90 mins of running in you before you need to refuel. I often run 'fasted' but once you iit ten miles then you need to think about refuelling

As for water, you don't need 'water water and more water' in this climate, whilst running!

26Point2Miles Sun 08-Feb-15 09:45:47

Oh and runs of ten miles plus..... Imodium is your friend smile

LingDiLong Sun 08-Feb-15 09:51:19

What are you aiming for OP? And are you struggling to get there? If you're trying to beat a 5k PB and you can't seem to do it then it's worth looking at your diet IMO. If you're trying to increase distance from 10k and struggling then, again, look at your diet.

My DH does a lot of running and apart from refueling at the 10 mile mark as mentioned above, he doesn't really worry too much about what he eats. He does really well regardless and is always getting his PB down and running further. He obviously has no need to look at what he eats.

I'm completely different. I find eating the right stuff makes a real difference to how well I can work out. If I don't drink enough through the day my legs hurt. If I don't eat enough carbs and try to exercise then I get migraines. Once I changed to a healthier eating plan I could plank for longer/use heavier kettlebells/run further and faster etc etc.

ThursdayLast Sun 08-Feb-15 10:58:36

I find my recovery is hampered if I don't drink enough before running. Or after.

But it really is about experimenting and finding what works for you.

ArgyMargy Sun 08-Feb-15 11:16:33

Thanks all of you - I really appreciate these comments. I've come late to running and I'm a solitary runner so sometimes wonder if I'm "doing it right". I'm not really struggling, or trying to go much further or faster, just really wanting some reassurance, which you have given me! I do have a pretty good diet and am careful to drink plenty of water after my runs.

DryHeave Sun 08-Feb-15 20:40:23

I'm an early morning runner - I go out before I eat breakfast. The thing I find that makes the most difference is how much I eat and drink the night before. If I eat a little more at my evening meal before running, I don't get 'dips' during my run and I have more energy at the end of my run (usually 10k). I don't usually need to drink during my run, but ensure I have a couple of glasses at least when I eat my breakfast. It can be easy to forget to drink and then get a banging headache!

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