I love a good snack but it’s sometimes hard to find something that’s portable, healthy and delicious tasting. So when I got my box of Super Food Bites from Food Groove Mission, I was super excited. Especially since two of the flavors are right up my snacking alley (Holy Truffle Punch and The Nutty Adventurer). And I was not disappointed!Read More
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.
During my training for Twin Cities Marathon, I did a couple of “What do I eat in a Day” posts where I talked about what I was eating on different types of days. I’m planning on bringing them back but for now I wanted to share what I’m eating before workouts. Mainly because it’s changed up from what I was doing last year and I think it’s helping.
First of all, what I’m eating beforehand depends on when I’m working out. Most of the time, I’m working out after work but I also workout in the morning. Mainly on weekends but I’ll also workout in the morning on any days off. I’m not doing any runs before work during this cycle because it’s just too darn cold.
If I’m working out in the morning, I’ll just eat my normal breakfast about 90 minutes before. Typically this is oatmeal (because I am the Oatmeal Runner) but sometimes I mix it up with Kodiak cakes or some other type of waffle. Plus, I make sure to drink 20 oz of water and have a cup coffee too.
These combinations work best to make sure my stomach isn’t still digesting when I got out on a run but that I have enough energy to get me through a long run. So far, I haven’t been taking any gels on my run and have been feeling pretty good through my 13 miler. I’ll probably start taking gels when I get up to 15+ mile long runs which is just around the corner!
But, the majority of my workouts are after work and that’s where I’ve been mixing up my pre-workout meal the most. For the most parts, I’m eating something with a combination of fats, carbs and protein before my cross-training on Mondays. Sometimes Greek yogurt, sometimes a bar or something from our Naturebox. Which is pretty much what I was doing for all my post-work workouts last year.
The big change has become in what I’m having pre-run if I’m heading out after work. I found I was getting side stitches really easily (even on short three milers) when I was eating a heavier pre-workout snack. It was especially bad if I had Greek yogurt as part of my pre-workout. So now I’ve changed to a piece of fruit (right now it’s been an apple) and my stomach is feeling so much better! And I’ve just added on to my lunch or post-workout meal on those days to make sure I’m still getting in those nutrients.
Do you have a pre-workout snack? Let me know what your favorite one is in the comments!
Since I'm doing more of my runs in the morning, it’s really important that I have a routine down so that I’m not rushing around early in the morning trying to remember what i need to do. Of course, part of this means I get anything packed the night before (if I’m heading into work post-run). But keeping everything simple and easy helps out every morning.
If I’m running in the morning, I’ll keep my alarm set for 4:30 a.m. (my normal workday wake up time). Even if it’s the weekend. I’ve found that this gives me enough time to get everything done that i need to without feeling rushed. And since my body wakes up at 4:30 during the work week, it’s used to that wake-up time already.
Vinnie gets up with me too at this time...well sort of. He runs out to the couch and curls up there right after we get out of bed. Which is nice because I don’t have to get him out right away any more and can go into step two of getting ready.
Now, I could go ahead and eat breakfast first before getting dressed for my run. But because Vinnie is already up (and on the couch), I’m going to be taking him outside soon anyways. So I might as well take the couple of minutes to get dressed while he’s taking a little snooze. I put my running clothes out the night before so I don’t have to think much in the morning. Just through on the clothes, pull my hair back, wash my face and then I’m ready to take Vinnie out for a quick pee.
After I take Vinnie out for a quick pee, he curls back up on the couch for another nap. I swear he does things other than nap. While he’s napping, I work on getting my breakfast ready. Most of the time, it’s oatmeal and coffee so it takes about ten minutes before I’m ready to eat. Vinnie gets a Kong filled with dog food while I eat breakfast to keep him entertained since by the time I’m done making my breakfast he’s up and interested in what’s going on.
When I start doing my Tuesday morning runs, I won’t be eating breakfast before my run which is something I haven’t done in a while. I’ll be having it post-run instead and only having my BCAAs and creatine in water before heading out on my run. It will be interesting to see how my body reacts to that. I’ve done fasted runs before but it’s been awhile since I’ve done it.
Take Vinnie on a walk
Vinnie always gets a longer walk in the morning so I still try to get that in before heading out on a run. It’s a chance for both of us to stretch our legs and gets Vinnie’s energy out since he usually gets kenneled up while I’m on my run.
Finish getting ready to run
After we get back from a walk, I take the time to put on sunscreen and Body Glide. The sunscreen has enough time to absorb into my skin while I get my water and (if it’s a long run) Gus ready to go. This is also when I wake up Mike since either he’s going to be joining me on his bike, driving me to the river or just watching Vinnie. Either way, he gets some time to wake up a little before I head out the door. Vinnie enjoys going in and seeing Mike, either to lick him awake or just curl up and nap again.
Head for the run!
Usually I’m running near our apartment so I do my warmups outside as I’m walking to where I start my run. Then, I’m all ready to go and start my day with a run!
Do you have a morning pre-run routine?