Wellness Wednesday: Pre-Run Fuel

Our favorite Ayurvedic practitioner, Deacon Carpenter, is taking your nutrition questions and answering them every Wednesday. We are drawn to Ayurveda because it takes the whole person into account and provides guidelines based on you and your body; not arbitrary guidelines based around calories, proteins or carbs. If you have questions, send them to us at hotbirdrunning@gmail.com and we'll get them to Deacon. He is answering your questions every Wednesday. Here are his suggestions for pre-run fuel.

"How do I fuel my run with out feeling too heavy or running out of gas?”

Many of my clients are athletes, and this question comes up quite often. One of my clients was so overwhelmed with his research that he felt eating ½ box of pop tarts before one of his 10-mile runs would be ideal. Suffice to say that he crashed and burned at mile 5, and didn’t feel so hot shortly after.

As a runner, I know that eating appropriate foods before a run can take a little planning, but the better the fuel we put in, the better performance we put out. Therefore, I tell my clients who are runners that there are four golden rules to pre-run fueling from an Ayurvedic perspective. They are:

1. Eat foods which are easily digested. Oatmeal with a little ghee (clarified butter) and maple syrup, brown sugar or sucanut is ideal. Would also add some raisins or dates to the mix as it’s cooking. It’s a great blend of carbs, quick-burning and slow burning sugars. You can also spices like cinnamon or a little cayenne pepper. You can switch out oats with white basmati rice. If you simply can’t bring yourself to cook that much in the morning, choose a simple cereal and add hot milk.

2. Cook your food! Eating cooked grains actually allows our bodies to digest food faster versus eating a bowl of cold cereal or an energy bar. Cooking food is a form of pre-digestion, so when it hits the stomach, there has been some breakdown already, so your body turns food into fuel faster. Although cooked food is pre-digested.

3. Give it 30 minutes. Ideally, you should wait up to an hour after eating to run, but since many of us want to get up and go. Running 30 minutes after eating will give the body enough time to get the digestive process started, and give you enough fuel to get moving. It will also prevent you from getting a cramp or feeling too weighed down.

4. Eat until you are 2/3 full. It’s an odd fraction, but you want to not completely fill up on breakfast, otherwise, you’re risking a food coma. You want to eat until you are satisfied, not full. If this happens, I recommend waiting an hour before running.

Remember, a cup of coffee and an energy shot is NOT fuel for your run. Your body needs the fuel, so eat, otherwise, you may risk passing out!

For more information on Ayurveda or to understand what foods are best for your body type, visit Daily Veda and email Deacon.

Deacon founded Daily Veda after working in Global Advertising for 16 yrs. He practices yoga, runs and promotes healthy living through natural eating and Ayurvedic medicine. His Veda Bars are AMAZING. Best tasting bar ever and you can pronounce all the ingredients! He’s a wealth of knowledge and fun.