Everyone has different levels of comfort regarding eating around training, so it is important to trial what works best for you. In general, allow two to four hours before running and/or after eating a large meal, to allow time for your food to fully digest. After a smaller snack 30 minutes to two hours should be sufficient, depending on how much you have eaten.
BERRIES: For energy boosting snacks before a run, try to focus on smaller carbohydrate snacks that have a reasonably high glycaemic index score (GI). A food’s GI measure is relative to how quickly it is digested and broken down into glucose, so high-GI foods are absorbed faster and less strain is placed on the gut. Berries are a great little energy booster, they are packed full of healthy sugar and also contain Vitamin C and potassium to help your muscles repair whilst you run. Potassium is also one of the key electrolytes that will help you body fight off those unwanted muscular cramps.
NATURAL POWER BARS OR GELS: When talking about foods and supplements to be taken during a run, it all depends on what length we’re talking about. If your going on a chilled run around the block, then you probably won’t need anything, just suck it up and push on as your body has enough energy to get you through. But if we’re talking about a full marathon, then you will have to look to supplements and food sources to keep you going. A great natural option is a handful of sultanas or natural power bars – these babies are packed full of sugar and good fats to keep you going. Alternatively, if you’re about to embark on a 20km+ run it is possible to stick to energy gels. These are full of sodium, potassium and magnesium; all the key electrolytes your body loses during such a run. They are also much more manageable than a handful of fruit.
PROTEIN: After your run you probably won’t care what you eat, as long as its tasty and within grabbing distance. However, this is the most important part of your working meals. Your body has just depleted a lot of its minerals and vitamins and has worked a lot of muscle groups for a long period of time. Your post run meal has to be packed with as much protein, carbs, minerals and vitamins as possible – look to lean chicken breast, quinoa, avocado and green vegetables for nutrient dense recipes.