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Eating Before an Afternoon Run

One thing that I really do not like about my work schedule is that I have to run in the afternoon. Morning is my favorite time of the day. Asking me to function past 4:00pm is asking a little too much. My best efforts start around 5:00am and I’ve always preferred to see the sun rising instead of the sun setting.

One reason that I do not like running in the afternoon is because I do not know what is best to eat beforehand. Sometimes I think I may overdo it with the healthy foods early in the day and my stomach let me know it today. Today’s hill repeats were somewhat of a disappointment. I think it was a combination of running too fast yesterday, not enough sleep, and too much spinach for lunch. My failure to hit my target times got me reevaluating my meal plan during the day. What is best to eat for a 4:00pm run?

After a little research, I found a few articles stating it’s a good idea to avoid high fat/protein foods, spicy foods, broccoli or beans, and caffeine. According to, safe foods include refined carbs, low fiber fruits and veggies (grapes, tomatoes, olives, etc.) and some dairy. Billy Brown from recommends breads, fruit, whole wheat cereal, oatmeal and energy bars. (I guess that goes against my Wheat Belly diet.)

This article from Iowa State University, includes meal suggestions for workouts at different times during the day. I think tomorrow I’ll eat a bigger breakfast and a simpler lunch. I’d like for my 8 miles to be a little less uncomfortable than my workout today.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Running Update: For my 400 meter hill repeats, I was suppose to hit 1:35 per interval. I ended up running a little farther for each interval (until I realized I could set my autolap for .25 miles) and my time were around 1:38-1:42. It wasn’t too far off but I felt like I should have been able to do 1:35 or faster. Stats are here, here, and here. (Don’t ask.)


12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I sometimes have a piece of bread with peanut butter and honey or a banana about 20 minutes before a run at night, on top of fruit or cut vegetables right after school. That gives me energy for my run at 6:30 pm, and then I have my dinner afterwards.

    December 5, 2012
    • I learned many years ago that me + peanut butter too close to a run = bad idea. However, I think some simpel fruit would be good. Maybe some grapes? What veggies do you eat?

      December 5, 2012
      • Raw carrots and broocli, sometimes cucumber, but this is about 2.5 hours before my run, immediately at the end of the school day.

        December 6, 2012
      • Maybe I could try some cucumbers. I am just not a fan of broccoli :/ I ate a Honey Stinger waffle today and yesterday and that seemed to actually work quite well. And plus they are sooooo delicious.

        December 6, 2012
  2. I have to eat before I run. I don’t see how people go out with an empty tank. You do have to be careful what you eat though. There’s nothing quite like being miles from home/car and having an intestinal disturbance! Or heart burn etc.
    Great article from ISU. Thanks for posting this.

    December 5, 2012
    • I totally agree with you! I’ve also learned that chewing gum really bothers me. Well actually I already know this but sometimes I cave in and have a piece (or two like I did yesterday). The aspartame always messes me up. Today I had no gum and a honey stinger waffle about two hours beforehand. It seemed to work better 🙂

      December 5, 2012
      • Tuesday night I actually ran with chewing gum in my mouth. I had it before I started running and forgot about it. It did help keep my mouth from getting dry. Maybe I’ll try it again, not that I know I won’t choke my self!

        December 6, 2012
  3. Colin DeWaay #

    Yeah I usually here you want good healthy complex carbs. But you are the runner! 🙂

    December 5, 2012
    • I feel like complex though might not be right for me before a hard run. Maybe simpler is better. Today I had a honey stinger waffle about 2 hours before and that seemed to work better. But I also wasn’t doing hill repeats. We will see how tomorrow goes. It’s another intense workout. 😉

      December 5, 2012
      • Colin DeWaay #

        Yeah each body is different and definitely you need to do what works best for you!

        December 6, 2012
      • Complex carbs usually mean a good amount of fiber. I try to avoid fiber before a long run or a race. Bad things can happen.
        When you are going out for a run simple carbs are good as they get the sugars into your system faster. For longer distances you may want to carry a GU or Fig Newtons to replenish your energy.

        December 7, 2012
      • I’ve never done fig newtons but I use to take GU a lot. Then I started using 2nd Surge and I LOVE IT! It’s 100 mg of caffeine so it definitely puts a little bounce in my step after 15 miles or so. I’ll have to remember the fig newtons 🙂

        December 8, 2012

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