It is essential that your body has the energy it needs in order to perform its best. You can’t expect to run a marathon if you haven’t eaten anything. You don’t have to worry about eating even if you are trying to lose weight as you should be focused on what you are eating over a 24 hour period, everything else is irrelevant.
You don’t need to worry about the GI index of foods in relation to fat gain, to cut things short it’s a whole load of nonsense particularly for fit individuals like runners. The GI index has been repeatedly proven as irrelevant for the vast majority of the population by health professionals. So don’t believe what the quacks are saying in the mass media and on daytime TV. It’s main use is on how fast it’s absorbed and even then it becomes limited due to the rate of absorption depends on what else you are and have eaten.
If You Are Running In The Next 15 to 30 minutes
Fruit is a great option to eat just before a run. They contain carbohydrates which will fuel your workout and are filling enough to stop your stomach from grumbling. Fruit juices are also fine unless you have a problem with it swishing around in your stomach. Some people may say a high GI food will cause your blood sugar levels to crash but this only effects a minority of people. Amongst healthy individuals your body is perfectly adapted to regulating your blood sugar levels. Besides, your body will slow down it’s digestion during exercise anyway.
Numerous studies have been done on low and high GI foods taken before a workout and no significant differences have been found on performance.
If You Are Running In The Next 30 to 60 minutes
Now that we have a bit more time to play with we can start to eat things that are not so fast digesting. You can still eat your fruits like strawberries and bananas but you can thinking about combining it with some cereal. If we are running in the morning and we haven’t eaten for quite a long time then it may be advisable to stick with lower fiber cereals that will digest a little bit faster.
Dried fruits such as dates, apricots, mangoes are a great source of carbohydrates which are ideal for eating before a run.
Don’t be afraid to drink some coffee either. The caffeine inside of them will boost your energy levels and research has shown them to delay the onset of muscle fatigue.
If You Are Running In The Next 60 to 90 minutes
In this time frame we have a vast variety of options to choose from and you can pretty much eat what you want. You shouldn’t eat so much that you won’t be able to or feel uncomfortable to run though. It is also advisable to be eating a fair amount of carbohydrates in this meal.
Oatmeal is of course a good option here. It’s a great source of whole grains and carbohydrates which will help you power through your workout.
People often go on and on about how great the sweet potato is and it is a good food source however it is no better than a normal potato just different. Both are packed with vitamins and minerals but they have different nutrient profiles so be sure to include both in a healthy balanced diet. Either of them are a good option to eat before a workout.