It is important to be well fuelled before a run, especially if the run you are doing is a harder session or a longer run. What you eat largely depends on the time you have before your run. There are a few things to note.
If you train early in the morning then the meal you have the night before makes a big difference. Maybe have an extra bowl of cereal before bed, or an extra bit of pasta, to provide some fuel before you run.
You may want to try running your longer runs on an empty stomach, especially if you are marathon training. This sort of training method won't be for everyone, but the idea behind it is that on a long run you are teaching your body to use fat as a fuel source, as we can aid this process by not fuelling the body up before. Please take care if you are going to try this, perhaps try with some shorter runs to begin with.
2 Hours Before
You want to be looking for low-GI, slowly digesting carbohydrates to top up energy reserves and power your run, A low-GI sweet potato is the perfect fuel to take on now, deftly avoiding that post-white potato energy slump.
Some high quality protein is important as the amino acids it contains provide energy, facilitate carbohydrate use and support muscle tissue health. Fish and eggs are easily digested sources of high quality protein, plus other nutrients. Avoid adding extra oils and veg, as fat and fibre move through the gut slowly, and you don't want them sitting in your stomach when you run.
Eat: Chicken, oats, white fish (cod, haddock), oily fish (salmon, mackerel), brown rice, low-fat Greek yoghurt, bulgur wheat, quark smooth cheese, wholewheat pasta, sweet potato, eggs, brown bread.
Meal plan: Eggs with brown bread or fish with sweet potato
1 hour before
Easily digested low-fibre carbs are still the priority having carbs before training will increases blood flow to muscle tissue.
Bananas are the golden food choice, containing three types of carbs, all with different speeds of utilisation in the body for phased fuelling. Taking in some casein proteins from milk and cheese now is a smart move. They drip-feed your body the building blocks of repair, and University of Texas researchers found that pre-training protein was twice as effective at halting the breakdown of muscle tissue than post-training protein, meaning you should recover quicker
Eat: Banana, low-fat Greek yoghurt, dried fruit, whey protein shake, white toast with jam, bagel, white fish (small portion), cottage cheese (small portion), white rice, egg whites
Go to Meal: Low-fat Greek yoghurt with a banana
30 mins before
Caffeinated drinks can boost endurance and aren't diuretic as once thought - but go for green tea as this delivers a less extreme up-and-down than coffee.
What about just before you head out?
Stick to water if the run is under an hour, For longer efforts, start sipping a sports drink with added electrolytes [potassium and sodium, to replace the salts lost through sweat] at regular intervals, such as SiS Go Drink.