What I eat before a run
You are what you eat.
As a long-distance runner, I’ve now had decades of experience tweaking my ‘diet’ to fit my running needs.
But I need to back up first and tell you my story.
I really do like junk food. Processed food. Burgers, fries. Cupcakes. Treats are the best. Juice and cake? Yes please.
I also really like running. Slowly. At my pace.
Most important of all, I like feeling good about myself.
And over the years I’ve learned that having a ‘diet’ of burgers, fries and cupcakes doesn’t make me feel good in the long run (haaa-you see what I did there?). They make me feel good for 5 minutes or 2 hours. But then I’m not feeling so good — for hours after.
So I’ve tweaked my concept of ‘diet’. I’ve come to a point where I definitely don’t diet. In fact, I don’t think I ever did in the traditional sense.
What I have been doing for years, is understanding what makes my runs feel good, and thus what makes me feel good. Learning what the different vitamins and minerals each food contains.
Here are some of the things I will eat before a run, whether that be 1k, 3km, 12km or more (Disclaimer: While I am a Canfitpro Fitness Instructor Specialist, I’m not a nutritionist, so please do your research and check with your doctor about your own nutritional needs).
Sweet Potato. Lately I’ve been digging sweet potato. Turns out they are packed with nutrients that your body can pull on during a long run.
Salmon. Salmon too is packed with a number of essential nutrients that can help you increase your endurance.
Carrots, Red Bell Peppers, and Kale. Over the past year, I’ve started eating at least one carrot, red bell pepper and some kale everyday. And when it came to my runs, I noticed I felt a lot better during them. I didn’t know this until I read this article but the “ beta-carotene in carrots converts to vitamin A which the eye’s retinas transform into rhodopsin, a purple pigment essential to night vision.”. If you’re a night runner like I am, night vision is your best friend. Helps you see those little foxes lurking in the underbush :). When it comes to red bell peppers, peppers can help you stay hydrated on a run. Kale ‘boosts immunity and can help you ward off infections, viruses, and colds’. This has become particularly important to me, throughout this pandemic.
Walnuts and dried cranberries. Eating walnuts can help your body heal faster after a run. And while I don’t carry dried cranberries with me as a mid-run snack, it’s totally something I’ve seen. I happen to like dried cranberries in my meal.
There you have it. What I eat before a run. Currently. In the future, I may switch this up. Find other ingredients I like better or that suit me more. I still like my cupcakes and burgers. But this is the food that makes for a good and happy run, and a good and happy me.