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So, I'm new to running - my experience so far is completing W3D1 (whew!). I do my runs late evening - 9pm or later - when it's coolest. (And the kids are in bed and I have some blessed peace.) Here's my question/problem: When I get home, I'm STARVING! Like, I feel like I could eat a whole cow (and believe me, I see them on my runs and they are SO not appetizing in person). I realize that there's a reason I'm hungry, and while I would love to be able to curb this hunger, it's actually quite strong. I can actually hear my stomach: "Toolulah! Feed me. FEED me. FEED ME!!!" So I do. Unfortunately, I feed it some not very good stuff or get over-stuffed.
So what do you eat when you're starving after a run? What should I have on hand for a late evening snack that is filling enough, yet won't sabatoge me?
First of all, welcome to running!
It is not unusual to change some eating habits after becoming a runner, after all, your body has to get used to a whole new level/type of effort. For example, I started running many mores miles/week than I used to about a year ago. As a result I eat a little more than before. I also have to watch my nutrition a bit. A couple of weeks of too much training without a little extra intake might make me loose a little too much weight and a couple of busy weeks at work without adjusting my diet might leave a couple of Kg heavier.
I am no expert in diets, so I will just tell you to watch (a little) what you eat both before and after your run (at this moment you do not yet need to eat anything during your run). For detailed guidelines you might visit http://running.about.com/od/nutritionandhydration/a/runnersdiet.htm and http://unitedrunners.org/iloverunning/running-nutrition-what-to-eat-before-during-and-after-a-run (contains a section on post-run diet). Also remember to resort to qualified professionals for personalised advice.
5k: 20:12 (December 31st 2012)
10k : 44:30 (November 6th 2011, March 18th 2012)
Half Marathon: 1:35:27 (February 3rd 2013)
Recently running half marathons. Six completed so far. Now looking for number 7. Once I get to 10 I will start thinking about full marathons.
I agree with ydiez, the food urges are common and will continue to transform as your running progresses to longer miles, increased speed, schedule, timing and so on.
One scientific explanation is that the body craves carbs, for example, due glycogen stores that are depleted quickly from the muscles during running. Of course, it is difficult to make the right choices because sometimes we feel like just eating a quick form of sugar and starch. The best choice is a quality protein combined with a moderat carb 30 to 60 minutes following intense exercise, so pre-planning snacks will help a great deal.
Good options include things like granola bars, a handful of dried fruit with nuts, a few slices of turkey with wasa flatbread, a blueberry smoothie with banana, samon/tuna with ak-mak crackers and things along those lines. Again, the key is the combination and looking at overall calories based on the length and energy utilized for the workout.
If you are craving crunchy sweets, then combine a small portion of pretzels with raisins or dried cranberries and take a look at some of the well-balanced power bars.
Eating late at night is a troublesome, so I understand your concerns. I would say go with the blended fruit or vegtable drinks first. Another good option is carrot juice (add pure apple juice for a natural sweetner). It is better pre-run than recovery...otherwise you will be awake all night.
Wishing you all the best
Although you don't need to explicitly count calories, do keep an eye on how much you're eating after your runs. C25K runs aren't long enough to burn a very large number of calories, and it is very easy to start gaining weight even though you are exercising more. Also make sure you're eating enough healthy foods during the day to efficiently fuel your body. Often people (non-runners as well as runners) eat relatively little during the day, for whatever reason, and then compensate by eating the proverbial house down late at night.
"...I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do, but to the best you can do....I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't..." --- author unknown
@ 5K: Ontario Mills 5K, Ontario, CA, 24:42
Heart of the City Run, Los Angeles, CA, 24:13
Bruin 5K Run at UCLA, Westwood, CA, 24:54
@ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 51:42
The Great Race - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:12
Thank you to everyone for your replies - it's good to know that this is normal! Thanks also for the links. they're very helpful. @ Jasko123 - THANK YOU! The granola w/ dried fruit really hit the spot last night. Filling, yet I didn't feel like I ruined my whole day by having another full meal after dinner!
Thanks again everyone!
You might want to try cliff bars after your run also. They are very fulfilling and I think they have only 250 calories.
Check out my journey to losing weight and becoming a marathon runner: www.300poundsandrunning.com
I get like that so what I do is before I head out I place a glass of water and a piece of fruit so that when I come in the door it is there, but I don't eat it right away, I wait to see if it is actually a hunger feeling or a mental feeling. I did a fair amount of reading on this and then actually calculated my calories burned and was shocked to discover that my 30-50 minutes of run walking actually only burned like 300-500 calories which if I remember right is like eating one bigmack at mcdonalds lol I am not saying that I eat there but putting that intop my perspective opened up my eyes allot so I really watch my caloriy intake. now like I meantions I have a glass of water , a peice of fruit and on some days I replace the fruit with 1 real cup of home made plain yogurt. my home made yogurt is not very thick I like to drink it.
now on some days after my run I do't feel hungry for up to an hour after my run.
One of the major things I suggest is making sure you are taking in a balance of Carb/PRO/Fats after a run, especially at night. I do not condone low fat/high carb intake late at night because that can cause a drop in blood sugar after you fall asleep. A great snack that I use that really hits the spot is a fruit with cheese. Such as an apple with a slice or two of cheddar cheese. You get the carbs from both and the cheese has some fat and protein that will curb your hunger not only right after your run, but also through the night. Give it a go, I would be interested in hearing how it goes!!
Running and Strength Coach