What Should I Eat Before and After a Run?
By Cristina Sutter, SportMedBC RunWalk Dietitian
Fueling yourself well is key to training for a 10K race. Eating the right foods at the right times makes all the difference. Four to six small meals a day is great for optimal energy and to avoid getting too hungry and overeating later in the day. When we forget to eat and skip meals, our muscles are broken down for energy and our metabolic rate slows. Eating a small meal every 3-4 hours helps you build muscle and fuels your training and recovery.
Plan a snack 1-2 hours before a run – good examples include fruit and yogurt, crackers and hummus, fruit smoothie, toast with nut butter, banana with nut butter or oatmeal and milk. At this stage of your training, fresh fruit is a great recovery snack after your runs. When your training sessions become longer and faster, a fruit smoothie, yogurt parfait, or half a sandwich are great options for your recovery snack. Chocolate milk is a popular recovery snack because it’s convenient, but you can make your own recovery smoothie with plain milk, frozen berries and yogurt. Make sure to have your next meal within 1-2 hours after your run to promote muscle recovery and maintain your stamina at your next training run.
Here is a general sample meal plan that would work for most moderately active middle-aged women. If you are younger, very active or male, you will need to boost the portions of these meals and snacks.
Sample Meal Plan:
- Breakfast: Whole grain toast, egg, milk
- Snack: Greek yogurt, fruit
- Lunch: Whole grain chicken vegetable wrap, raw veggies
- Pre-run snack: Crackers, hummus, fruit
- Post-run snack: Fruit
- Dinner: Vegetable fish stir-fry with brown rice and salad
Cristina Sutter is a Private Practice Sport Dietitian at Optimal Performance Clinic in Vancouver. For more information, visit cristinasutter.ca.