I prefer to run my morning me to keep my energy levels up if I am not a ‘breakfast person’? Also, after a very long run, I feel I have earned the right to binge eat for the rest of the day. Surely after all the exercise this can’t be all that bad?
If you are running/training for more than an hour on a daily basis, it is very important to eat the right carbohydrates to avoid glycogen depletion in the muscles. This can lead to fatigue and poor recovery, and ultimately will reduce your performance on the road. If you cannot stomach solid food before a run, I would recommend a carbohydrate drink like Energade, which gives you carbohydrates for fuel, as well as electrolytes for hydration. Energade is also the right osmolarity (concentration), which means it can be absorbed optimally from your gut without gastric disturbances.
In terms of binge eating, an hour run can burn anything from 700 to 1 000 calories depending on your weight and speed. If you eat one chocolate bar and a bowl of pasta these burned calories are quickly replaced. I would recommend that if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight that you do not binge after races. You can increase the amount that you eat by eating more frequent small meals, but try to keep it to healthy options. This will replace your glycogen stores (great for recovery) and keep your sugar levels balanced, but minimise any excess fat storage that often happens with binge eating.
Christine Peters – Modern Athlete Expert
BSc (Med) Nutrition & Dietetics (hon)