It took me a while to figure out that I should be eating something before I work out (unless I’m doing an early morning run) and the a little bit longer for me to figure out what works best. Today I’m sharing what foods work best for me in different situations and why I think they work for me.
Runs After Work: Fruit
This is my typical pre-run food when I’m running after work (at about 4 p.m.). It’s the perfect way to get in some fast digesting carbs in about 45 minutes before my run to make sure I’m not going to be feeling weak or lethargic before or right after my run. My go-to fruit is usually a banana or apple since they are easy to throw into my purse and I can buy enough for a week at a time without worrying about them going bad.
One thing I found didn’t work pre-run was having some Greek yogurt with my fruit. That made my stomach feel upset pre-run and I’ve ended up cutting out eating dairy on a regular basis since it generally doesn’t agree with my body.
Cross Training Days: Bars
For my cross training days, I like to eat a little bit bigger snack than just a piece of fruit because I tend to work out for longer (and later) so I need more fuel to make it through my workout. Bars are the easiest thing I’ve found that give me more calories (adding in some fat and protein instead of only carbs like my pre-run snack) to keep me full for longer.
Some sort of bar fulfills this while (again) being easy to throw in my purse. Currently, I’ve been on a Larabar kick (I might have bought three boxes of their fall/winter limited edition flavors) but RXBars offer a similar nutritional profile and have worked well for me.
Weekend Runs: Oatmeal
If you’ve spent any time around this blog, you’ll probably realize that I love oatmeal so much. It’s my go-to breakfast every morning and works really well as a pre-run meal on the weekends. I usually eat about 2-2.5 hours before my weekend runs and oatmeal gives me the perfect mixture of carbs, fats and proteins to be fueled for a longer run (right now between 5-10 miles, sometimes a pace run) without it being too heavy in my stomach.
5 a.m. Runs: Nothing!
I’m not doing 5 a.m. runs anymore since it’s dark and cold during the fall mornings but when I was during the summer, I didn’t eat anything before heading out the door. I did drink a glass of water but otherwise there wasn’t anything in my stomach. I wasn’t doing long runs on these days (only 3-4 miles) so I was fine waiting to get home to eat. Plus, I didn’t want to get up any earlier than I already was to eat something and let it digest before my runs.