Whether you are planning to run a marathon or you are simply training with long distance running, the food you eat in the days leading up to your run will have a significant impact on your performance. Not only do you need to eat foods that will provide your body with the energy it needs for a long run, but you also need to eat foods that agree with your digestive system. To help you prepare, we have put together a list of the best foods before a long distance run.
In the days leading up to your long distance run, be sure to include plenty of lean protein in your diet. Good options include chicken or fish.
You should also include some carbohydrates in your meals during the days leading up to your run. In addition to getting carbohydrates from pasta, rice and bread, you can also get the carbs you need from legumes, vegetables and fruits. If you want to “carbo load” before the run, eat your largest meal two nights before your run rather than the night before. This way, you won’t have to deal with any digestive issues caused by the large meal while you are on your run.
If digestive issues are a concern, it is best to avoid high-fiber foods for a couple of days before your long distance run. This includes avoiding whole wheat pasta and bread, fresh fruit and salads. Low-fiber fruits and veggies that should be safe to eat include: zucchini, olives, tomatoes, grapes and grapefruit.
Toast or Bagel
In general, it is best to eat breakfast two to three hours before engaging in a long distance run. Good breakfast choices include toast or half a bagel with some peanut butter. Wash it down with water, unsweetened coffee or a sports drink.
Energy bars are another good breakfast choice. Chose those that are specifically designed to serve as a pre-run meal. This way, you will be sure to get the protein an easily-digested carbohydrates that you need for your run.
Many runners find that bananas are also a great option to eat before a race or a long distance run. This is because bananas are ranked as a 54 on the glycemic index, and the energy provided by foods that are higher on the index burn more slowly than those with a lower ranking.
Choosing the right foods to eat before a long distance run is no less vital than selecting the right shoes or clothes to wear on your run. Through experimentation with different foods, you will soon find the combination that works the best for you.