All it takes is one click on one of the many running forums online to witness just how much debate deciding what to eat the night before a long run can create.
Besides dividing plenty of opinions, it’s important to note that everyone is different – so what might work for one person might not work for another.
This can bring about much confusion when trying to figure out what to eat the evening before a long run. But, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned runner or have just recently gotten into long-distance running, we’re sure you’ll be well aware of the frustrating heartburn and bloating that comes along with disrupted digestion – and we’re here to help you avoid that.
To cut a long story short, when you exercise for long periods of time, your blood will flow away from your digestive tract to support your muscles, which can then slow down digestion and cause stitches, tummy ache, and more.
The best way to avoid digestive complaints from happening is to make sure that you’re consuming running-friendly foods prior to the day, but, what are they, exactly?
To help you maximize your long-distance run, maximize enjoyment, and perhaps even hit a new personal best, below you will find a complete list of all the best foods that will fortify you prior to your run, without causing any pain.
Along the way, you’ll also find some additional hints and tips to make your running experience as enjoyable as possible. Read on!
What Should You Eat The Night Before A Long Run?
Prior to going on that morning run, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve fortified your body with everything it needs to be able to function properly throughout the duration of the run.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to make sure that you’re aren’t eating anything that is extremely high in protein, fiber or fat, as these particular nutrients tend to take far longer to digest than other kinds of food.
This means that, if you were to eat a meal rich in these nutrients, you might find yourself experiencing bloating, gas and even a stitch during your morning run.
Instead, you should be focused on eating nutrient dense, yet easily digestible foods that will ensure your intestines are able to digest your food properly, prior to heading out on your long run.
In addition to the above, seeing as everyone’s digestive system handles different types of food differently, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking the time to trial and error what works best for you before running.
While one person might find that a big bowl of oats is the perfect option for them to tuck into on the eve before a long distance jog, another person might find that a tasty and nutritious smoothie is much better-suited to them.
So, we recommend that you make sure that you’re listening to your body and tailoring your pre-run diet to foods that it is able to easily process and digest.
To give you an idea of what types of food you can consider eating the night before a run, below, let’s take a look at some easy to digest foods that are high in nutrients and carbohydrates:
Potassium-Rich Fruit And Veggies
One of the most important foods that you should make sure you’re eating prior to a long run is fruit and vegetables that are enriched with potassium, as potassium has the potential to reduce the chances of you experiencing any muscle cramps!
Foods such as bananas, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, spinach, broccoli, grapefruit, apricots, and raisins are all great sources of potassium, and great options to consider eating prior to going for a long run.
Top tip: If you’re more of a light eater, why not prepare a fruit bowl for the morning of your run, too?
Next up, smoothies are another great food option to consider the night and morning before a long run. Not only are they conveniently quick and super nourishing, but smoothies are very easy on the intestines thanks to the fact that all of the foods have already been blended, which means that your body’s digestive system isn’t going to have such a hard time breaking down all of the foods.
Top tip: If you suffer from bloating and gas, add a little bit of ginger to your smoothies to help speed up the digestion process!
Perfect for the night and morning before your long-distance run (as well as even during) nuts are full of healthy, unsaturated fat and plenty of protein, B vitamins, E vitamins, and minerals.
On top of that, they are also full of iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, and copper – so they’re perfect for reducing muscle cramps and pain, while also ensuring that your body will have all the nutrients it needs to carry you through the run.
Top tip: If you’re going to keep some nuts in your pocket to eat while running, consider eating cashews, as their creamy textures have less chance of getting stuck in your throat and causing you to stop running for water.
Ok, so, even though leafy greens technically apply to our vegetable point above – we still think that they’re deserving of their own spot in this article.
Not only are leafy greens full to the brim with potassium, magnesium, and a variety of other delicious foods, they’re also super easy to digest and very filling – which makes them the perfect meal on the eve of a long-distance run.
Top tip: For the easily digestible yet totally fortified meal, why not create a delicious bowl of leafy green salad to enjoy the night before your run?
Last but not least, another great food source to consider eating the night and morning before your run is oats! Full of healthy carbs and packed full of fiber, oats are perfect for eating the night before a run as you’ll be giving your body enough time to digest it, while also fortifying your body with nutrients.
Top tip: If you’re planning an afternoon run, why not prepare overnight oats and enjoy them the morning before your long run?