Before a long run you want to take in carbs such as whole grains and whole fruits because they offer slow burning energy. We should be eating about one and a half to two hours before the long run. It’s a bit like having a drip in your arm, slowly letting sugar into your blood stream. If you eat frosted flakes before a long run, instead of porridge, your blood sugar shoots up, then down, and you don’t have a reservoir of energy. Of course, eating the right balance of different types of carbs means you have to be able to identify the types of carbs you’re eating. For instance, brown isn’t always a good indication of something being whole grain. Read the labels – take bread, the first ingredient should be whole grain – like cracked wheat or wheat flour and it should have 3 to 5 grams of fibre per serving. Products that list simple sugars – such as high-fructose corn syrup – near the top of the ingredients will not offer the same slow burning energy of a whole grain, unprocessed food.
So, find a balance – there’s no reason not to eat some refined carbs as long as you make sure to take plenty of whole grain carbs too. Eat loads of fruit, vegetables and whole grains and you’ll have a nutrient rich diet that’ll keep you running well.
Which are best for you then – try these : whole wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, beans, such as pinto beans or black eyed peas, bran cereal, rye, whole wheat or multigrain bread. And, they’re all much tastier and you can run to your heart’s content.