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What to Eat Before a Run

What to Eat (and Not Eat) Before Your Run

Whether you're loving your longer runs for fun or are training for a marathon, it's important to fuel your body in order to kick some butt during your sweat session. While exercising on an empty stomach is a big mistake, fueling up the wrong way before a run can cause stomach cramps, dizziness, and headaches. Check out the chart below to learn some good choices for noshing before lacing up those sneaks.

2 Hours Before

What to eat: 300- to 400-calorie meal containing carbs, protein, and healthy fats:

  • Cooked quinoa and grilled chicken
  • Whole wheat pasta with cheese and veggies
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, and granola
  • Wrap filled with grilled fish, avocado, and mango
  • Fruit, yogurt, and greens smoothie (or this vegan protein smoothie that tastes like a vanilla milkshake!)
  • Cheese and veggie omelet with toast

What to avoid: Fibrous veggies and high-fat foods that are hard to digest:

  • Broccoli, onions, beans
  • Cream-based soups, burgers, fries, and ice cream

1 Hour Before

What to eat: 150-calorie snack containing easily digestible carbs and a little protein:

  • Whole wheat toast with nut butter
  • Banana and small handful of cashews
  • Whole grain crackers and hummus
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Half a fruit-and-nut bar
  • Cheese stick and carrots

What to avoid: Gas-producing fruits:

  • Pear
  • Apple
  • Melon

15 to 30 Minutes Before

What to eat: Small serving of easily digestible carbs:

  • Half a banana
  • Applesauce
  • A few saltine crackers
  • Raisins

What to avoid: Large serving of protein and carbs or high-saturated fat and high-fiber foods:

  • Pasta
  • Bagel and cream cheese
  • Fried chicken
  • Granola or energy bar (high in calories and fiber)

Hydrating is also essential, so drink about 15 to 20 ounces of water one to two hours before working out. Sip another eight ounces 15 minutes before.

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