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Eating Before & After a Run

You probably know all about hydrating before and after a run, but you also need to fuel your body before your run and restore what you used up afterwards. These tips are especially important for your long run. They are general suggestions. You'll want to experiment to find out which of them work best for you and your own tolerance for specific foods before and after your run. There are commercial products as well (see column on the right), if you prefer.

Before . . .

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. Running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy. You best bet is to eat a light snack or 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; 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.

After . . .

After running, especially a long run, you want to replenish energy as quickly as possible. Studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose) stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise. If you eat soon after your workout, you can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness.

You'll want to consume primarily carbs, but don't ignore protein. A good rule of thumb for post-run food is a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs. Nutrition bars, such as Clif bars or Power bars, are healthy options. Other examples would be a bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt.

If you feel like you can't stomach solid food immediately after a run, try drinking some chocolate milk. Chocolate milk provides plenty of protein, carbohydrates and B vitamins —- making it a great recovery drink. And cold chocolate milk tastes pretty refreshing after a run.

Run On! carries Endurox R4, a recovery (after your long workout or race) drink, and Accelerade, a drink for before, during, and after your long effort, which have been clinically tested for maximum efficiency.

Endurox R4 performance/recovery Drink is formulated by the leading exercise physiologists and is glutamine-, arginine- and ciwuja-enhanced. Endurox R4 delivers the hydration effectiveness of the leading sports drink.

Accelerade is the first sports drink that shifts the energy dynamic during exercise to improve performance. Like conventional sports drinks, Accelerade supplies the necessary carbohydrates and electrolytes for rehydrating and replenishing muscle reserves. But unlike conventional sports drinks, Accelerade contains the patented 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein to speed the movement of carbohydrate into the muscle and the ideal combination of simple and complex carbohydrates for rapid and sustained energy.

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