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Question: Should I be eating or drinking before or during a run?

A common mistake most novice runners make is to think that, since they are just starting out, they do not need to worry about nutrition or hydration. In fact, the food you eat and liquid you take in are just as vital as your running shoes. Knowing what to eat and drink can have an effect on your health and running performance. Therefore, it is worthwhile to dedicate some thought to what you put into your body when you are getting ready for a run.

Typically, you want to try to eat something an hour and a half to two hours before running. That may be enough time for your food to digest and keep you fueled for your run. If this does not work for you, try eating different types of foods or gel packs to see how you feel. If you don’t do well with eating before a run, know that runs lasting less than an hour in duration may not need much fuel beforehand.

Make sure you're hydrating before you start, especially if you are running in the morning, since you haven’t had anything to drink for 8 hours! Try drinking a sports drink before your run to ensure you're getting some needed calories. For runs lasting longer than 30 minutes it is wise to carry a water bottle. Even if you don’t feel thirsty and it still may be a little chilly in the morning to notice much “water loss”, you are losing water vapor through your breath and water through sweat. If you really do not like running with a bottle, try a hydration belt. Running stores around the city carry different shapes and models, and you are sure to find something that works for you.

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