It can be difficult to find the best pre and post session foods for you, but I emphasise the FOR YOU part, because what works for one doesn’t work for another. I know lots of people find porridge the best pre-session food, therefore I felt I had to eat that too, but I HATE porridge, and it makes me feel sick, which doesn’t really make for the best pre session food. That being said, it can be helpful to know what works well for others in order to use it as inspiration when you are trialling different things. For this reason, here are some foods that work for me.
If I have a session or race first thing in the morning, my go to is toast with almond butter on it. This works well for me because it sits comfortably in my stomach, fills me up, and I love the taste of it.
Bagels are another great choice. I tend to have bagels pre race as opposed to prior to sessions because I find they are not quite as heavy as toast or bread. Therefore I find them slightly easier to digest before running hard. It also means I am less likely to suffer from a stitch or stomach pain.
If I want a light snack to prevent me getting hungry that isn’t too filling, I tend to go for a cereal bar. I love the yogurt and apricot Eat Natural bars and I also eat these frequently so I know they do not cause my stomach any upset. Any cereal bar that you are familiar with is a great option. I tend to have a cereal bar around 2 hours- 90 minutes before racing to prevent hungry from striking too close to the race.
Another snack most runners are familiar with are bananas. A banana is a great way to get some fuel in if you are slightly pressed for time. They are not too heavy that they will cause you any upset, but they are also substantial enough to fill a hole.
Immediately post-session, as soon as I have finished my cool down, I have a recovery drink. For me this is an Omega 3 recovery drink called Drink eo3. It’s tasty and has everything I need to kickstart the recovery process as quickly as I can. This can however be as simple as a carton of milk, or if you prefer a protein shake, that works too. This allows me body to start repairing before I have even got home. You can of course eat something like a bar straight after training, but I find a drink a lot easier to stomach as I am often not hungry straight after a session. I then make something to eat once I get back home.
Post session foods are definitely a lot easier as you do not need to worry about how they sit in your stomach. The most important thing is to ensure you get a balanced meal in to your body to allow the recovery process to take place as effectively as possible. It is also great to choose something that is easy to prep so you can eat as quickly as possible.
My go to meal quite often includes some form of eggs and avocado. I am an avocado lover, and despite what anyone else says, I actually think it is still underrated! I will often have avocado on toast with poached eggs and smoked salmon. You can switch the salmon for something else, or skip it out if you don’t like it. I add some greenery such as spinach or sometimes tomatoes.
With or without avocado, eggs are a great post-session food. Boiled, scrambled, fried, or even as an omelette, they provide lots of goodness whilst also being tasty.
If I don’t feel like eggs, I will frequently have a sandwich as it’s quick but also satisfying. I love fillings such as hummus and roasted vegetables, goats cheese, or a current fave is a mozzarella, pesto, spinach and sun-dried tomato toastie.
I tend to for bread or toast at lunch, but pasta is a great choice too. It’s quick to cook and you can pair it with almost anything. If you make enough for two, you can have it cold the next day to save time.
These are just a few of the options I gravitate towards. They may or may not work for you, but there is no harm in doing a bit of experimenting.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!