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Hi everyone, first time post.
I'm relatively new to running. I've always loathed it, instead preferring to walk whatever 5-7 mile route I'd do for the day, but I'm actually making some headway in learning to enjoy it.
My only hurdle is that I only have time to run during the week when i get home from work, and I'm not someone who can skip dinner (I typically get low blood sugar if I skip, no matter how much I try to stagger and re-arrange my meals during the day). I usally just wait an hour and a half or so before running, but as expected sometimes this leads to nausea, cramps, etc.
So is there anything somewhat substantial I can eat that will digest quickly/easily and not weigh me down? I naively thought pasta might do it, but I'm now seeing that pasta really needs to be eaten earlier in the day to provide any benefit for a run later on.
I rarely eat immediately prior to a run, however, on race mornings I've been known to eat a couple of eggs and/or a couple of slices of bread with butter and honey on them. That said, by the time I've made my way out to the race, stood in line for the Port-A-Potties, warmed up a bit, stood in line for the Port-A-Potties again, and then lined up, it's usually at least an hour and a half from meal-time to race-time.
I have fun a couple half marathons, over 10 5ks, and i am in the Army NG.... I would eat prior about an hour and a half prior to running... but do snacks if you need something when you get home.. try bananas, oranges, you can do trail mix that isnt full of salt, granola bars. drink plenty of water ( will help wiht cramps) Pasta is normally a night before a big run, in moderation, and earlier in the day not right before running.
You might just be eating too much that close to running. Have you thought about the option of splitting your dinner portion into half and having the first half before and the second half after your run? Maybe that will take care of the cramping. If that's not an option I also suggest to go with a snack right before the run. Keeping the hunger down with several small meals during the day will allow you to keep your blood sugar levels more level throughout the day and it will also help you make healthier choices for your meals. It works great for me while I'm training for my marathon.
Yes, I've thought of splitting dinner in half, but it seems that if i dont have enough to eat by around 6:30, I get that low blood sugar feeling and its hard to rebound.
So I try not to split dinner too much...and b/c I'm eating something somewhat substantial (mind you, def not a large meal), I was just wondering if there was something a little more 'runner-friendly.'
But at least I'm now a little more aware of when something like pasta should really be eaten, and that maybe if I just string some snacks together that might do the trick.
For evening runs my go-to fuel when time is short is a packet of GU. I'll suck down a packet of GU 15-20 minutes before my run (while I'm changing into my running gear, getting my shoes, etc..), and I'll take another packet of GU with me in the event that I start to run out of gas while I'm running.
Preferably, I would rather eat something light, like a couple of pieces of bread and peanut butter, about an hour or 90 minutes prior to my run. But if I miss that "eating window" then I do the GU. I'm not totally crazy about eating the GU, but it does work.
And then when I'm done running, I am free to take a great shower and have an awesome dinner.
BTW - it helps if you chase that GU with water...
For any of your longer runs (such as the 7 miles or longer) .... Easy to digest foods that are long slow burning fuel like red potatoes or sweet potatoes or red mashed potatoes are good. They are easy on the stomach, have potassium, and are a long slow burning carb. Oddly enough, this is what I eat for breakfast on my race mornings I even got some others hooked on this. If you don't like to cook and you want simple, you can get those simply made potatoes that are microwaveable (that's what I bring with me to the hotel for races, or have morning of race day for a half marathon or triathlon). I've also done sweet potatoes (when I'm in home just doing a local race). But don't do anything white. No white pasta, no white potatoes, no white bread (well... actually on occasion I've done the white mashed, but I've read the white is more of a fast burning carb which isn't good).
Now, I know you don't want to eat potatoes everyday before you run, LOL. BUT ..... it's a good recommendation for your longer runs. You just can't fuel yourself on a gu or 2 for a long run, or you won't be doing any good for your training. You want to build lean muscle mass, so look up slow burning carbs for alternative, and then have some protein and smaller amount of carbs post run.
I'm not a nutritionist or trainer, but I've received a ton advice from my own nutritionist I've used who is a Pro triathlete.
If you are not a big fan of my potatoe recommendation, here is a Livestrong link on slow burning carbs you can read through for some ideas. You'll have more energy if you try to stick with these for the 90 minute prior meal. http://www.livestrong.com/article/331564-list-of-slow-burning-carbs/
I'm an evening runner also. I used to have some of these same issues as well but I eat about 85% Paleo now and don't have as many issues. Here is a good article I found about Paleo diet for runners http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/nutrition/is-the-paleo-diet-the-right-choice-for-runners_52363
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I struggle with the need to eat something substantial before a run after work but know that eating dinner would be too much. Typically a bannana or avocado is enough to get me through an evening run without upsetting my stomach. If I feel like I need something more than that I might also eat a protein bar. I keep a few gels with me (Island Boost is my favorite - very easy on the tummy) in case I need something while I'm running. Then I eat my dinner after my run. Everyone is different so you'll need to experiment a bit to figure out what works for you.