By Simon Gould
Running on a treadmill uses a lot of energy and that energy needs to come from somewhere. It’s rarely you’ll actually feel hungry while running but if you’re running for a long period there are some things your body needs that some food will give you. Here we explain when to eat before and after running and what to eat while running.
What and when you should eat before running
If you’re running in the morning you might not need to eat anything. I’ve often run on the treadmill in the morning having had nothing to eat before hand and I’ve had all the energy I needed. Perhaps an energy gel or protein shake may help some who feel they have to eat something. If you’re running for 45 minutes or less I don’t feel you need any sustenance.
As long as you don’t eat a large meal right before your run you’ll be ok. Make it 2 hours after your last meal is the soonest you should run. The meal should be through your digestive system enough so you don’t feel sick or nauseous as you run. Try and get into a routine regarding meals and when you run to get the most out of your training schedule.
What and when to eat while you’re running
Like we said you shouldn’t actually feel hungry while running if you’ve had your meals when you normally do. If you’re running for less than an hour then water will be fine. You may choose an isotonic sports drink to replace electrolytes to keep the sodium levels up and keep you hydrated. It’s when you run for an hour or more then you might think about taking something more substantial to eat.
If you’re running for an hour or more then we recommend a good energy gel* to replace some of the carbohydrates you’ve lost through running. This is something that’s very light and is very soft so it’s easily absorbed as it enters your digestive system. They are quite inexpensive and they’re designed for you to eat during or after running.
What and when to eat after running
Research has shown that there’s no definitive window you need to eat after a workout to help your body and muscles replace and repair itself. However, you’re going top need protein to rebuild and repair your muscles and you’re going to need carbohydrates to replace the energy you’ve lost after your run.
As we’ve said earlier if you’re running for less than an hour then you can wait until your next main meal. If you’re hungry in this window then there are protein and carb bars available that would help in this situation. These are also great immediately after a workout if you’ve been exercising for an hour or more.
So there you have it, you shouldn’t feel hungry while running on a treadmill but if you do then an energy gel is ideal. This is especially the case for longer runs of an hour or more. The gel will have a lot of carbohydrate to keep you going and some sodium to replace your electrolytes you lost during exercise, all this helps you keep going.
There’s no strict rule on when you should eat afterwards but if you’re hungry immediately then a carb and protein rich drink or food would be best. Make sure it’s not too much if this is not a main meal. Otherwise wait for your main meal especially if your workout wasn’t too long and also if you’re trying to lose weight.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*