Fueling Your Run

During a marathon, runners rely on the "fueling stations" set up along the track. These tend to offer things like water, electrolyte drinks, energy gels, and sometimes even sandwiches. 

If you are working on your running routine at home, you may not be running a marathon, but fueling your body for running is just as important. Both timing and nutrition can play an important role in your performance and the outcome of your running routine. Often, runners set up their own fueling stations to power up both before and after a run.

At FlipBelt, we know all about marathon fueling strategies and can provide a few helpful tips on how to fuel yourself for energy, distance, and more.

Timing is Everything

When you eat in relation to your run can make a big difference. You need energy, but you don't want to weigh yourself down. You need to recuperate lost resources, but you don't want to eat more calories than you have burned. So timing both before and after is important.

Most runners suggest a light snack 15 minutes before your run and a protein-rich meal 30 minutes after your run.

Carbs Before, Protein After

Carbs matter, especially if you're going for a long run. Carbs are quick-burning calories, and the best time (all day!) to eat carbs is right before you run. Your body will quickly convert the carbohydrates into energy instead of storing them as fat, which will give you more power. 

  • Fun Fact: Energy gels used by marathon runners are carbohydrates (sugar) and caffeine to help you refuel without weighing down your stomach for runs longer than an hour. You can get your own energy gels and find your favorites at home.

Ideally, you should have a small carb snack before your run to help you get started.

Ideal Pre-Run Snacks

  • Piece of fruit
  • Breakfast bar
  • Half a bagel or English muffin
  • Piece of toast
  • Handful of grapes

After your run, snack on protein to fuel your recovery.

The Best Post-Run Snacks

  • Peanut butter on apple slices
  • Handful of nuts
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Hummus veggie dip
  • Protein shake or bar

An hour or two after your run, your next meal should be lean and rich in protein, which will be used to strengthen and build lean muscles.

Post-Run Meals

  • Lean chicken and vegetables
  • Baked salmon and spinach pasta
  • Fajitas
  • Egg white scramble
  • Protein powder pancakes
  • Oatmeal with peanut butter

Fuelling to Build Muscle vs Lose Weight

It's also important to consider your personal goals when fueling your run. If your goal is to bulk or build muscle, eating both more carbs and more protein can be beneficial. If your goal is weight loss or weight control, go light on the carbs to encourage your body to burn fat and favor vegetables over starches in your post-run snacks and meals.

Don't Slow Yourself Down with Fiber and Fat

Before a run, avoid both fatty and fibrous foods. Both digest slowly. They will make you feel sluggish and slow you down. It's best to eat very lightly before a run, just enough to provide your starting energy. This includes the meal you eat an hour or two before your run.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Electrolyte

Lastly, remember to stay hydrated and the value of electrolytes.  Your body can't process water properly without salts, which you lose during your run via sweat. Therefore, clean water is essential, but don't forget to refuel your supply of electrolytes as well as staying very well hydrated. 

Sports drinks tend to be high in sugar. A little before a run can provide your supply of carbohydrates. But you should also consider low-sugar electrolyte powder that you can shake into your water bottle if you're looking to limit your sugar intake from pre-mixed drinks.

Carry Your Refuel with FlipBelt

If you plan to go for a long run, bring your water bottle and even a few energy gels along with you. Instead of worrying about pockets or a bottle banging against your hip, use the FlipBelt to keep all your essentials snug and balanced around your waist. 

 

 

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