When it comes to nutrition, morning runs are fairly easy: Nosh on something small and carb-y while drinking your coffee and then head out the door. It’s late afternoon and evening workouts that require planning because, more often than not, you’re lacing up your shoes four to six hours after your last meal. And, without a mid-afternoon snack, you're running on empty.
According to nutritionist, running coach, and elite ultrarunner Stephanie Howe Violett, starting a run depleted is not a good idea. “It can be tempting to just head out the door, but eating a small snack can be beneficial before an afternoon run,” she says. “The pre-run snack should be mostly carbohydrate with a little bit of fat and protein to give you energy and boost your blood glucose.”
The result? You’ll not only have a better workout, but you’ll experience faster recovery, too.
VIOLETT'S SUGGESTIONS: TOAST WITH NUT BUTTER AND HONEY, A HOMEMADE MUFFIN, OR A NUTRITION BAR
In order to eat a balanced snack with protein, fat, and carbs, you need to get it down at least two to three hours before your workout stresses Carol Gilpin, registered dietician, and owner of Fleet Feet Sports Vacaville, CA. If it's closer to an hour before your run, it’s best to stick to something simple and easy to digest—think carb heavy—especially if you’re planning on a speed session.