How Long After Snack To Run (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30 mins – 2 hours

It is important for you to have a little snack or a meal before running. But remember to always wait a certain period of time before you can run. This is crucial for maintaining yourself while running.

Depending on whether you’re running in the morning, or the afternoon, or the evening, you may switch up your pre-run nutrition style, and explore different kinds of snacks that may help with your run.

Some snacks you can consider eating before your run include bananas, energy bars, yogurt cups, fruit smoothies, bagels, oatmeal, sandwiches, or nuts.

Each of these different snacks can aid in your health in a way, keeping you fit for your workout.

How Long After Snack To Run?

ObjectiveAnswer
How long do we wait to run after a snack?30 mins – 2 hours
How long do we wait to run after a large meal?3 – 4 hours
What happens if you run right after a snack?Digestive problems, sluggishness

A snack is usually eaten before a run to provide the body with quick and sufficient energy to run. It helps control hunger and keeps our blood sugar levels in check, so it doesn’t drop while running.

A snack that is consumed before the run is usually high in carbohydrates to provide a lot of energy for the body. In addition, unlike a pre-run meal, a pre-run snack contains fewer calories.

The pre-run snack is often small as excessive food can cause nausea, indigestion, and vomiting.

Examples of snacks that you may eat before a run are fruits, such as an orange or a banana; an energy bar; breakfast muffins; crackers; cereal; and more.

After a light snack, you can wait for a minimum of 30 minutes before you start running. After a less light snack, you may start running after at least 1 or 2 hours.

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However, if you consume a large meal like scrambled eggs; cheese and toast; potatoes; chicken; pasta; bagels; and more, then you may be advised to wait three to four hours before running.

This waiting time allows the body to digest the food properly beforehand so it can store the derived energy for your run.

It is important to always provide fuel for your body by eating either a snack or a meal before running. If you do not eat before running, your body may start burning your fat storage, along with breaking down your muscles, for energy from the protein. Breaking down your muscles defeats the purpose of running.

Therefore, pre-run snacks are very much necessary to give you that boost of energy.

Why Does It Take That Long to Run After Snack?

Running too quickly after a snack or meal can result in a sloppy workout session as you may experience cramping, nauseous and other digestive issues. In addition, you may even feel quite sluggish while running. After the run, you may even experience diarrhea.

The primary reason to wait after eating a snack or meal to go on a run is to allow the body to completely digest the nutrients from the food and absorb them.

Running right after eating a snack or meal can be very uncomfortable and can cause a lot of discomforts because the body was not designed to digest the food you’ve eaten during exercise. This is because digestion makes use of a large portion of the energy that our body has. The body does so by allowing more blood to flow to organs such as the stomach. Because more blood is targeting our organs, our muscles that will be required during running receive a decreased flow of blood. These muscles can be our arms and legs.

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This is why we often feel sluggish or sleepy after eating, so this state is definitely not suitable for running. While running, the body directs the blood to our muscle groups which are working and contracting, to provide energy for running, taking away that extra blood flow to our stomach and other digestive organs.

This back and forth process can disturb our digestive tract and cause many digestive problems. This is why people often report gastrointestinal distress, stomach pain, and stomach cramps when they run right after eating a meal or a snack.

This is why it is important to always wait after a meal to run.

Conclusion

To conclude, you must wait anywhere from 30 minutes to even 2 hours to run after you’ve had a snack. If it was a light snack, then you may wait for up to an hour, but if it was a heavy snack like yogurt, then you may wait for an additional hour, so your body has the time to digest this food and absorb the energy and nutrients.

A snack before running is usually digested easily, and usually contains a high amount of carbohydrates to give you the boost of energy to run.

If you prefer to have a large meal before your run, you should typically wait for 3-4 hours as the body needs a longer time to digest a greater amount of food.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0017896910386284
  2. http://rvrunning.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/From-Kitchen-To-Finish-Line-Nutritions-Role-in-Distance-Running.pdf
  3. https://coaches.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/827/Tips_For_Your_Post-Run_Nutrition.aspx
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