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Eat before or after the run? (Read 1396 times)

    Hey all! I'm super-new to both running and this website. I started last week on one of the 'New to running' plans and I hope to be running a 5K in 3 months! My question is this: I get up at around 6:30am to do my running - should I eat before or after my run? I'm not particularly hungry when I just get up, and right now I'm just downing a little bit of juice and then hitting the road. Does anyone have any other thoughts on the topic? Kim
    My goal in life is to be as happy as I possibly can. - Me
      Hi, Kim! Welcome! I think it's a matter of preference and what you're training for whether you eat before or not. I think most runners eat something light like half a bagel with some cream cheese and a glass of OJ because food = fuel for your running. On the other hand, if you're running okay and are not interested in eating, why mess with perfection? I prefer not to eat before because I have this idea that someone put in my head that it helps my body burn fats if I don't give it extra glucose before the run. But that's just me, and I have no idea if it's true or not. (Big debate there, no good answers, lots of opinions.) One thing I would NOT reccommend is a heavy, greasy breakfast before running. Ugh! While I love McDonald's breakfast food, if I try to run after eating that I get sick to my stomach! 5K in 3 months is a great goal. Do you have your goal race picked out already? It's fun shopping for your first 5K... Smile Once you pick it out, you may want to go ahead and sign up to give yourself some extra motivation! ("Hey, I've already paid the entry fee, I might as well keep running...") Janell

      Roads were made for journeys...


      A Dance with Monkeys

        For distances less than about 10-15 miles, your body should bring enough stored calories to the table that you really do not need to eat anything, especially if you are running under 70-80% your maximal effort. Really. That said, I usually eat a little bit before a long run.
        vicentefrijole


          I agree with Wingz.. it's kind of a personal preference and depends a lot on what your goals are (Losing weight? Increasing mileage? Enhancing speed/performance?). I'd bet it depends a lot on body type too. I'm short and thin so I probably don't have a lot of space in my body to carry extra energy... I think muscle mass and liver mass are the main sources for this kind of (glycogen) storage. If I don't eat a little something in the morning (after essentially 'fasting' all night) then I have a really hard time going longer than 3-4 miles... That may be purely pyschological, but if I have a little fruit or half an energy bar, I feel much stronger. Big grin
          Mile Collector


          Abs of Flabs

            I agree with Wingz.. it's kind of a personal preference and depends a lot on what your goals are (Losing weight? Increasing mileage? Enhancing speed/performance?). I'd bet it depends a lot on body type too. I'm short and thin so I probably don't have a lot of space in my body to carry extra energy... I think muscle mass and liver mass are the main sources for this kind of (glycogen) storage. If I don't eat a little something in the morning (after essentially 'fasting' all night) then I have a really hard time going longer than 3-4 miles... That may be purely pyschological, but if I have a little fruit or half an energy bar, I feel much stronger. Big grin
            I'm with you on this one. I have to get up 1-2 hours before the morning run to eat. Otherwise I wouldn't make it through any run. As Wingz said, when to eat is a personal preference. If you can't make it through a run without breakfast, then you should definitely eat before. It sounds like you're ok with just juice so stay with what works. If you're running to lose weight, it's about expending more calories than you take in.
              Kim, It's got to be natures own energy bar, the Banana!! Packed with easy to get at energy (fructose) and accompanied by all sorts of nutrients which are good for you (a very good source of potassium I believe) and also with a dod of fibre thrown in to boot!! All for the cost of buttons!! Big grin Highly recommended whether it's been a couple of hours since you ate or you've just peeled yourself from bed and you need somehting before you go out. Lot's of Tennis pro's eat them on court for long matches to counter fatigue. Drink wise a bit of fruit juice made up with water to no more than 200ml max will get you some fluids and also a wee bit of energy also without having too much sloshing around in your stomach. Cheers and good luck, FC
                Oh yeah!! And fire some carb rich (pasta, brown bread, potato etc.) food down you shortly after running as it helps with muscle fatigue/recovery/re-charging which means less aches and pains. FC
                vicentefrijole


                  Oh yeah!! And fire some carb rich (pasta, brown bread, potato etc.) food down you shortly after running as it helps with muscle fatigue/recovery/re-charging which means less aches and pains. FC
                  We may have talked about this in another forum (or is it my deja vu? Big grin), but Fluffchubs right on about this. There's some really great evidence that eating (especially carbs, but also some protein) within 1 hour of exercise helps build muscle and repair damage. Even if I don't feel like it, I try to eat a little fruit or something after my runs too.
                    Thanks for the advice everyone - it's a great help! And I really do need to pick out a 5K soon. So far I'm still loving my beginner program and I'm really starting to look forward to morning runs! Never thought THAT would happen. Kim
                    My goal in life is to be as happy as I possibly can. - Me
                      So far I'm still loving my beginner program and I'm really starting to look forward to morning runs! Never thought THAT would happen.
                      Know what'cha mean! It grows on ya, doesn't it? Smile

                      Roads were made for journeys...

                        Eating before a run is a personal choice. I think atfer a run is a must the sooner the better. It starts the recovery process for your next run . My favorite is a scoop of carnation instant breakfast and some whey protein mix with water. Work great for me, and taste great.
                          Hi Kim! I can't eat before a run without feeling heavy. I always visualize my body attempting to digest something in my stomach while I am asking it to exert physical energy during my run. Maybe thats my own mind working overtime, but when I am only doing an hour or less of exercise, I can go off of what I have stored. The only exception I have ever made is for distances of more that 10 miles. Then as was noted earlier, the banana is indeed the perfect fuel.