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April 04, 2018

Pre-Run/Post-Run Nutrition Tips

Written by Neely Gracey

The main way to meet your goals is to follow your training plan, but it never hurts to put a little thought into what could help support your active lifestyle! Recovery, Strength Training, Consistency, Hydration, Mid Run/Race Fueling, and Pre-Run /Post-Run Nutrition are all important details that will help you feel stronger and healthier. There will be a series of blog posts on each of these topics, stay tuned!

Pre-Run and Post-Run Nutritionsmoothie

When it comes to good eating habits, the number one thing to remember is moderation. Unless you have an allergy, or know certain foods don’t sit well in your stomach, then nothing is off limits. It’s all about the timing, and learning a good routine that works well for you. There are two key times when nutrition is critical during training; pre-run, and post-run. Let’s explore these in more detail.

Pre-run fueling is critical to dial in, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. If you’re a morning runner, you may not have much time to grab a snack before heading out to get in your training. Try something light, easy to digest, and carb focused for quick fuel. A banana, piece of toast, granola bar, sports chews, electrolyte mix, etc. All followed by water to wash it down and kick start your hydration for the day. Getting in some calories and fluids before a morning run is really important because you haven’t eaten for many hours, and you may have become dehydrated throughout the night. Fueling up beforehand will help ensure the success of your training efforts.

If you’re an afternoon/evening runner, than you have a day of meals to plan before your run. The morning isn’t too specific, but the meal/snack 3 hours prior to your run is very important. You will want to stick to something bland and not too heavy. A giant burrito may not leave you feeling great on your upcoming workout. Instead, try a sandwich, soup and side salad, sushi, etc. Good choices are things that are low in fats, easy to digest, and include no ingredients that irritate your stomach. Having a meal 3 hours before a run allows the body time to process and use the food as fuel. This will also help prevent cramps from eating too close to exercise.

Post-run fueling is all about starting the recovery process. In a run, your muscles are put under stress, and afterwards, they need protein to rebuild. Having carbs with your protein helps expedite this process, and according to the Olympic Training Performance Center, can also help boost your immune system. If you struggle to eat solids after running, you’re not alone! Try yogurt, smoothies, popsicles, or protein enriched milk. Whatever you consume post run, focus on carbs, proteins, antioxidants, essential fats, and fluids. The suggestion is to get in 100-200 calories within an hour of completing your run. You then have enough fuel to kick start recovery, protein synthesis, and rehydration before you get in your next full meal.  Finding a routine that works for you will allow your body to function at it’s best and be ready to nail those workouts as you chase your goals.

Last modified on April 09, 2018
Neely Gracey

Neely Gracey

Neely was born into this sport, literally. Her dad (Steve Spence, 1992 Olympic marathoner and 1991 World Champs Bronze Medalist) was running the Boston Marathon on the day she was born. She grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and in 8th grade set some big goals for herself.

While running for Shippensburg University, Neely broke Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) records, won 17 PSAC titles, and was named the conference athlete of the year for every season while at Shippensburg from 2008 to 2011. She is an eight-time NCAA DII Champion and still holds two NCAA records.

In 2016, Neely debuted at the Boston Marathon and was the first American finisher in 2:35. Later that year, she took it a step further with a 2:34 and 8th place finish at the NYC marathon. In 2017, Neely clocked victories at Rock ‘n Roll’s Arizona, New Orleans, and Chicago Half Marathons and was Runner-Up at the USA half marathon and 25k Championship races. She is excited for what the next year will bring as she pauses from her running career to start a family. She ultimately hopes to build towards the 2020 Olympic year.

Today, Neely lives in Boulder, CO with her husband Dillon and their Vizsla, Strider. They are happily entrenched in the running community. Between training, and competing, she enjoys coaching and helping other runners chase their goals!

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