Running - food on the run

What's the best way to fuel your body directly before, during, and after a run?
  1. Prepare your body to run. Most people run better on an empty stomach; however, there is nothing wrong with running after a meal, if you can stand it. Food remaining in the body causes disruption of blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract and cramping or discomfort in most people. It is best to wait an average of 1 to 2 hours after a meal before running, to allow food to digest.

    Remember, an "empty stomach" doesn't mean don't eat! Food provides your body with the fuel it needs to exercise. Light carbohydrate foods like toast or bagels digest faster, while foods containing high fiber and fat take longer. In addition, the bigger the meal, the longer the digestion process, so plan accordingly.

  2. Drink water and eat if you get hungry during long runs. If you're running for more than an hour, your body is probably going to need to fuel up along the way. Don't wait until you're hungry; start counting when you start your run. Every fifteen minutes feed your body between 4 to 6 ounces of a 6 to 8 percent carbohydrate solution. Liquid-form carbohydrates come in gel form and are easy to suck down. You can also try other easily digestable food sources, such as bananas and diluted fruit juices -- just remember to eat them along with 4 to 6 ounces of water. Eat small amounts of food frequently for a constant supply of energy.
  3. Eat after you run. Believe it or not, the sooner after a run you can stand to eat the better. Your body's glycogen re-synthesis rate (the rate at which the body puts energy back into the muscles) is fastest right after you exercise. This makes it the optimum time to refuel! Plan to eat small amounts of food that have a high glycemic index, such as bagels and fruit, within 15 to 20 minutes of finishing your run. This will help your body recover and replenish.

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