It is important to consume food before your run to make sure you have the necessary fuel to run optimally. However, not all food is equal pre-workout.
The negative effects felt by consuming certain food pre-run is due to the gastrointestinal distress or better known as runner’s trot. Below, I have listed 5 foods you should avoid pre-run.
1: Fructose: Avoid consuming fructose pre-run because fructose has been shown to increase carbohydrate use and minimise fat use. If you avoid consuming fructose before your run it will result in the body using significantly more fat for fuel during your run. This is beneficial as it saves your glycogen stores (stored glucose from carbohydrate intake) for the later stages of you run when you really need it!
2: Red meat: Red meat is a great source of protein and provides the body with tons of important nutrients. That said, the average digestion time is 3-4 hours. Alternatively, white meat (chicken) has a much faster digestion time which makes it a much better choice pre-workout.
3: Large meals: If you consume a large meal too close to the start of your run, there is a good chance you would have not fully digested your meal. This could cause digestive discomfort and make you feel sluggish.
4: Diary products: If you suffer from lactose intolerance, consuming milk or any diary products can cause digestive issues with symptoms including bloating, gas and diarrhoea. Any one of these symptoms will hurt your running performance.
5: High caffeine consumption: Caffeine is great pre-workout. Numerous studies have shown the positive performance benefits it can induce. However, consuming too much caffeine, which is somewhat individual, will have a negative effect on performance as it can cause dizziness, nausea and jitters. To be on the safe side stick to the recommended amounts of 3-4 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight. That means a 150-pound person would want 210 to 400 mg of caffeine.
Q: How long before my run should I consume food?
A: 90 minutes to 2 hours.
Q: What is an ideal pre-run meal?
A: Generic example – Chicken, sweet potato, green salad and a handful of nuts.