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Should I Eat Before a Run?

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Updated April 01, 2014

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Question: Should I Eat Before a Run?
"I'm worried about stomach issues if I eat before a run. Is it necessary to eat before running? Can you give me advice on what to eat before running?"
Answer: When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. You don't want to eat immediately before running because it may lead to cramping or side stitches. Running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy. Your best bet is to eat a snack or light meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.

Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. Stay away from rich, very fatty, or high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress.

If you've had digestive issues and find yourself stopping to use the bathroom during your runs, here are some suggestions for the best pre-run foods and tips on which ones to avoid.

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