Love running but keep crashing? Then you know how important it is to fuel your body the right way.
Try these tips to support a great run and quick recovery.
Pre-run fueling tips
It’s not just crucial during your run–but before it, too. Proper hydration beforehand helps your muscles get the nutrients they need while delaying fatigue.
Drink about 0.5 to one liter (L) of fluid, four hours before your run and another 0.5L two hours before your run. This’ll hydrate you while making sure you don’t have to use the bathroom mid-run.
And make sure you’re getting enough electrolytes. Electrolytes keep your cells hydrated and boost performance. Add 300 to 700 mg of sodium per liter of water to prevent muscle cramping. Or try SOS electrolytes, which give you 330 mg of sodium, other electrolytes, and a small amount of sugar to help push the sodium into your cells.
Eating the right foods also makes a big difference in your speed and run time. Opt for high-carbohydrate snacks with a small amount of protein and very little fiber before you run. Try a turkey sandwich with an orange, or a cup of cooked oatmeal with berries and almonds. These foods give you healthy nutrients and a quick burst of energy. But they’re still easy to digest.
If you’re running longer than an hour, shoot for 100 to 300 grams of carbs, three to four hours before your run. That could be 1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal with natural jam, berries, and almonds. Or you could eat four cups of cooked pasta in red sauce with two cups of grapes.
Fueling properly during your run
For shorter runs, water with electrolytes is probably enough to keep you going. But if you’re running longer than an hour, you’ll need carbs to sustain your energy levels. Opt for 30 to 60 grams of carbs every hour during your run. Get those from one to two bananas, Gatorade, sports gels or gummies, Larabars, or Cliff bars.
Post-run fueling tips
Rehydrating after your run is important for post-workout recovery. To figure out exactly how much fluid to drink, weigh yourself before and after your workout. You should drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound lost during your run.
Eating something within 30 minutes of finishing your run will jumpstart your recovery process and set you up for success on your next run. Depending on the length and intensity of your runs, you’ll want to think about ratios of carbs to protein. A ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 is good for high-intensity runs shorter than 60 minutes. Try having 15 to 30 grams of carbs and 20 to 25 grams of protein.
If you run longer than 60 minutes, a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 is better. Shoot for 60 to 90 grams of carbs and 20 to 25 grams of protein.