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How To Properly Fuel Your Run for Maximum Performance

Elaine Standohar's picture
Runnin Shoe

What you eat prior to running is so important that it can help to properly fuel your exercise.

Sunny days, warm breezes, and day trips to the lake - there’s a reason most people refer to summer as bikini season; which means that in addition to planning weekend water adventures, people are also on a mission to get into shape! Running is a simple and effective form of exercise that nearly everyone can do. It requires little to no equipment, can be done virtually anywhere, and offers tremendous health and weight loss benefits.

As important as running is to getting into shape, so, too, is what you eat prior to your run. The right pre-running snack can help to properly fuel your workout, improve stamina and performance, and help to prevent burnout or fatigue before your run is complete. Eating before running can also help your body burn fat more efficiently by reducing the chances of your body utilizing muscle tissue to fuel the workout.

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Eating minutes before a run, however, is ill-advised and can lead to both an uncomfortable and premature end to your run (think of Michael Scott eating an entire dish of alfredo pasta before his Rabies Awareness Fun Run). Eating 30-60 minutes prior to a run gives your body the chance to begin the digestion process and properly prepare itself for the physical demands of a cardiovascular workout routine.

A small meal or snack is sufficient running fuel, provided it is low in fiber, low in fat, and capable of being easily digested.

9 snacks to fuel your running
• Berries & yogurt
• Berries & cottage cheese
• Bagel with peanut butter
• Toast with almond butter
• Banana & nuts
• Applesauce
• Whole-grain crackers & hummus
• Small bowl of cereal with cold milk
• Fruit & nut bar

Snacks that are high in fiber, high in fat, and contain large amounts of carbohydrates should be avoided.

8 snacks to avoid before running
• Beans
• Apples
• Pears
• Broccoli
• Cream-based foods (such as soups, sauces, or dressings)
• French fries
• Pasta
• Ice cream