Things I've learned to avoid:
- Protein Bars - Yes, protein is great. I love protein, but consuming too much before a workout can lead to digestion issues. Your body basically won't be able to keep your energy levels consistent on a heavy protein intake because it's trying to break down the new food (proteins take significantly longer to digest than carbs) rather than using your body's fat stores as a fuel source.
- Nuts - Going back to the protein piece, all your going to do is cramp up.
- High Fiber Fruits & Veggies- Think about why we eat fiber. Do you want to deal with that during your distance run? I don't. Save the salad for after your workout.
- Dairy - Every I think a yogurt or piece of cheese is a good idea, it comes back to bite me. Dairy can actually deplete you of energy because your body slows down the absorption of carbs when it's sitting in your stomach.
- Junk Food - While this should go without saying, when I first started running, I made this fatal mistake. That big breakfast or last night's pizza didn't feel so good at mile 5.
On the flip side, here a few great options I've found that I absolutely love before a run:
- Earnest Eats Hot Cereal - It's a delicious combination of oats, quinoa and amaranth and gives you an awesome boost pre-workout. The Mayan Blend (cocoa, pumpkin seeds and cashews) is my personal favorite, but all three flavors are great.
- Whole Grain English Muffins w/ Almond Butter and Jam - I know, I know. I said no nuts. This is my exception to the rule. You're pairing it with a fast and slow carb so the little bit of a protein boost in the mix works well. Get Justin's Almond Butter. Trust me, it's worth it.
- Laughing Giraffe Goji, Cacao & Maca Snackaroons - I love these things. Think of a coconut macaroon cookie with all sorts of fantastic health benefits. It's a fulfilling, delicious energy boost that's 100% raw and vegan.
- Honey Stinger Waffles - They're naturally sweetened, organic and fit easily into your pocket for a quick pick-me-up mid run.
There you have it, my two cents on how to properly fuel your run for success. Only one more distance training run before my half marathon...