Mapping Food to Run Training
Where to start when synchronising food plans with training. Consider:
Training plans/intentions – consider distance, type of training, timing of training, and then start planning out your training “on paper” so you can factor food into your plan.
Ideally map out one week so you can see at a glance what training you’ll be doing and at what time.
On training days it’s key to ask yourself what your requirements are for pre/during and post fuelling and what athlete plate should you be following i.e. for easy or moderate or hard training.
It’s also important to consider what you have been eating and drinking before your run and that may include the day before your training run.
Pros and Cons of being an early Morning Runner
- Fasted state running – if you are planning an easy run of less than 90 minutes in duration you may run in a fasted state – so no food, only water. Fasted state running will support fat metabolism
- Energy boost before work – gets the endorphins active
- Waking early – make sure you are getting enough sleep so perhaps going to bed earlier
- Time restrictions – you’ll need to factor in time for your run and recovery before going on with the rest of your day
- Enhanced warm up after a night in bed – remember to warm up before starting your run
Planning Tips for Morning Runners
- Our advice would be if planning a long run early morning so a run that will be 90 minutes or longer:
- Prepare the night before e.g. lay out running kit, snacks and water for during the run and prepare your pre run breakfast
- Eat a carbohydrate rich meal the night before
- Prepare breakfast the night before – maybe eat it before you get dressed so you are factoring in some time to digest your food. Choose easy to digest foods and you may even consider a liquid breakfast like a smoothie
A planning example for a morning runner who is doing a long run say 2.5 hours plus covering 13-14 miles and they plan to set off from home at 630am.
Most people will need at least 1 hour to digest food before setting out on a run. So, if you plan to start running at 630am, you’ll need to eat at 530am. When you are practiced in eating before running, you may be able have a shorter eating window.
Our suggestion would be to have a glass of water as soon as you wake up, then eat your pre run breakfast, then get dressed and do your warmup before leaving. Choose a high carbohydrate breakfast. Overnight oats are a great choice or a pre-made smoothie or perhaps a banana on toast.
Don’t forget to pick up your water and during run snacks before you leave home and remember to factor in a quick release carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes of finishing your run followed by eating a meal or snack within 2 hours and include CHO and protein to ratio of 4 parts CHO to 1 part Protein.
If you’d like some help with EASY NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY RUNNERS check out our programme.
To say THANKYOU to you as one of our valued listeners we have a special offer for you use COUPON CODE POD to get 33% discount off the full price which brings the price to £199.
Pros and Cons of being an evening runner
- Optimal fuelling – if you’ve been eating appropriately during the day you will be fueled up which will help energy reserves and also your daily activities will have helped to warm you up so will in turn reduce the risk of injury
- De-stressor – if you’ve had a busy day having an evening run can be a de stressor of the mind
Cons – are not the same for everyone but you may have to consider:
- Low energy as a result of whatever activities you’ve undertaken during the day, you may feel tired, it could be as a result of what you’ve been eating or drinking – starting a training run feeling tired is not a good idea
- Sleep disruption – some people find that exercise in the evening is stimulating so can disrupt sleep patterns so early evening runs would be more supportive than a late evening run
- Running may suppress your appetite you may inadvertently under eat which can lead to poor recovery and low energy
- Also food related you may find you have less time after your run to prepare an evening meal
- Less consistency – there is more chance that “life” will get in the way, and you may not always be able to stick with your intention to do your training – so potentially less consistency, however if your regular routine is evenings you will be fine! We all have different preferences
A planning example for an evening runner who is doing a long run of 2.5 hours plus covering 13-14 miles and they plan to set off from home at 630 pm after a day at the office and a 1-hour commute home by car.
So, they’d be finishing work around 500pm. They’d arrive home at 600pm and have a 30-minute turnaround time before heading out on their run and complete their run around 900pm.
Assuming that they won’t be able to eat whilst driving the first thing they should do as soon as they walk through the door at home is have a QUICK RELEASE CHO snack e.g. a banana or a fruit smoothie or some dried fruit like medjool dates, then go and get changed, collect their snacks and water for fuelling during their training run and off they go.
Ideas to help you fuel adequately earlier in the day if you are planning an evening run.
- Have a substantial lunch and if possible make that your main meal of the day around 1pm-2pm and that should keep you adequately fueled, also consider adding in a late afternoon snack say around 400pm which would include a combination of protein and carbohydrate e.g. a homemade flapjack or oatcakes with hummus or cottage cheese.
- Hydration is important so drink water regularly throughout the day so that you are starting your training run in a well hydrated state.
- Follow the same principles as a morning runner, so a Quick Release CHO snack within 30 minutes, and then a light meal or snack ideally 2 hours before bedtime so there is adequate time to digest food, so sleep is not interrupted. Soup is a good choice or maybe eggs with toast or a baked sweet potato with a topping. If there is enough time a great tip is to eat half your evening meal before your run and eat the remainder when you get home. This practical tip works if you have enough time and it may work if you are going for a shorter evening run.
An easy action step to get started (see below)