I'm a busy person--many of you probably are too. Sometimes we plan our runs and other times it seems as though there's no time left in the day to do anything. There are times when I'll plan to run right after work, but by the time I get home I'm extremely hungry. I don't want to run after dinner and not eating anything isn't an option.
I tend to feel the best before my run if I eat a light snack about an hour before I get out of work. This gives my body enough time to digest and provide energy for my run.
Here are my favorite foods to eat before going for a long run.
1. Toast with a small amount of peanut butter
The toast provides carbohydrates while the peanut butter gives you a small amount of protein. This is the perfect combination for fuel before your run. My favorite types of bread are Arnold's 12 grain and Health Nut varieties.
2. Cup of oatmeal
Oatmeal contains almost all carbohydrates and is rather filling. If I'm craving a bowl of oatmeal, I try and eat this at least an hour and a half before running to make sure I won't feel too full during the run.
3. One banana
A large banana has approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates, no fat and 400 mg of potassium. Potassium is important to consume before running, because a lot of it is lost in sweat. Sometimes I'll add a bit of peanut butter for protein as well.
4. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt with live bacteria cultures help with digestion. I enjoy having yogurt, because it has just the right amount of sugar for energy without feeling too full afterward. I always keep a yogurt or two at the refrigerator in my office, so I know I can always snack smart before heading home for a run.
Hydration is the key to high performance. I sip on 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before my runs and I bring a water bottle with me if I know that my run will be over an hour. Water helps to clear the body of lactic acid that builds up during exercise.
Next time you know you're ready to head out for a run, give some of my favorites a try. They're easy to put together and don't take long at all. Keep in mind that it's never a good idea to try new food products before an important race. I like to try new things during my training to see what works and what doesn't work on my stomach. There's nothing worse than training for months and then getting sick during an important race.
Nicole Kennedy is a healthy living blogger and public relations specialist living in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Nicole's blog, Simply Nicole, documents her daily life occurrences as she balances working full-time, blogging, training for races, practicing yoga, eating healthy and spending time with her boyfriend. You can connect with Nicole via Facebook and Twitter for real-time blog updates, tips and tricks to living a healthy lifestyle, and more!