Which is better – pre-run meal or post-run meal?
Appropriate timing transforms running performance!
“When should I eat?” This is one of the common concerns among runners who want to run efficiently before or after work. You cannot pump up if you are starved, but on the other hand, running right after a meal can leave you with a pain in your side… Ms. Emi Kawano, the registered dietitian of Shiseido Running Club, has answers to the dilemma.
Emi Kawano: Shiseido Running Club registered dietitian. Did track and field until high school and competed at the Inter-Prefectural Women’s Ekiden.
A well-balanced meal is vital to boost running performance!
When, what and how much you eat; these have a huge impact on competitive sport performance, says Ms. Kawano who manages dieting and nutrition for runners. This applies to recreational runners, too. So what exactly are the best timing, menu and volume?
Wait for three hours to run after a meal.
Have a proper meal after a run.
● Two points for an effective diet for a morning run and a night run
POINT 1: Allow at least three hours between a meal and a run
If you start running within three hours after a meal, you may suffer from unpleasant body reactions such as a pain in your side because your stomach is still digesting the food.
POINT 2: Eat easily digestible, well-balanced foods right after a run!
Exercise actually exhausts or damages the body. Eating well-balanced foods and having a good rest will repair sore muscles.
● What are the best menus for pre-run and post-run meals?
“It is better to run before breakfast. However, a beginner who runs long distances on an empty stomach may suffer from low blood sugar and get completely worn out. Runners without enough running experience should set a time limit of 30 minutes for running to avoid overstretching,” says Ms. Kawano.
“A light meal before a run is very effective if you eat your dinner late at night after running. For instance, if you are planning to run around 7 p.m., have a snack of carbohydrates around 3 or 4 p.m. to fuel your run and prevent cravings afterwards,” is Ms. Kawano’s advice.
After running, it is very important to take a good portion of meat or fish to repair muscle tissue. “I would recommend pork which is high in Vitamin B1 that helps recover from fatigue, chicken (skinless) which is rich in protein and red meat or white fish, which are easy on the stomach, in particular. Plus, soy beans and eggs are also high-protein foods so I would suggest simple recipes such as “Natto on rice and miso soup with lots of ingredients” or “Egg risotto with lots of veggies,” recommends Ms. Kawano. You may be tempted to go for a beer after running, but it can be dangerous because it may cause dehydration. So, drink water or sports drinks first, then say cheers after a little rest.
Model Hano Ayase has a go for a proper sports diet!
Any changes in her running?
A fashion model, Ms. Ayase who has one year of running experience has followed Ms. Kawano’s advice and tried the proper dieting to see whether it would change her run. Apparently, she normally eats whenever she feels like it, giving little thought to the relationship between meals and running… Well, let’s see the results!
First, went for a morning run on an empty stomach before breakfast.
“After running, I had a proper breakfast so I didn’t get tired during the day and could actually move swiftly and nimbly.” (Ms. Ayase)
Planning to run from 7 p.m. after work. Had a doughnut around 4 p.m. before the run.
So, Ms. Ayase has this to say
“I used to go for a run shortly after dinner, having given my stomach a bit of rest, so sometimes I felt heavy in the stomach later on… This time, my stomach felt much better and I didn’t get exhausted either! When I couldn’t find time to eat before running, I followed the advice of Ms. Kawano and had some energy gel one hour before running. That made me keep going and run more smoothly than usual!”
<< What if you run to lose weight? >>
You may think that you will put on weight if you eat after running, but in fact, it turns out otherwise. “Taking enough nutrition as quickly as possible may effectively beef up muscles and help create a lean body. If you don’t eat properly after running, you lose muscle mass and lower the metabolism resulting in a body that puts on weight easily,” points out Ms. Kawano. The stress of not eating may also trigger a rebound. “If you want to eat something before running, I would recommend that you eat some carbs easy to digest, such as a rice ball, udon noodles, a piece of bread or a banana, rather than a doughnut,” says Ms. Kawano.
Enjoy fun-filled and efficient runs, timing your meals and runs properly!
Fashion model. One year of running experience. Enjoys once-a-week runs, in a relaxed manner, only when she can wake up early in the morning. Running record of 5 hours 58 minutes in a full marathon.
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