There are many runners out there who are always asking this same question – how long should you wait to run after eating? This is a very valid question as most of us are working and there is limited time to squeeze in all the things that we want to do. This is especially true for workouts or running where time is precious.
As a general rule of thumb, how long should you wait to run after eating will depend on the portion of food you ate and also your own digestive system. Wait for at least an hour after a small snack, two to three hours after a small meal and three to four hours after a large meal (more than 600 calories).
The main reason why we need to wait to run after eating is so that our body can properly digest the food and absorb the nutrients from our meals. Digestion is a huge process which requires our body to ‘work’ using massive energy. During this process, more blood flow is being directed to our stomach and internal organs which explain why we are always feeling sleepy after a heavy meal because there is less blood to the brain. Therefore, if we choose to run too soon after our meals, there are not enough blood in our muscles to optimize the benefits of the run.
A very common issue that runners face running after a meal is that they simply do not feel comfortable at all. This is because our body is not suited to do both digestion and exercise at the same time. People who do not heed this advice often find themselves suffering from stomach cramps, stomach aches or other intestinal problems. Doing this in the long run(no pun intended) may harm your body more than you know.
For runners who like to run in the morning, it could have been more than ten hours since your last meal. Exercising on an empty stomach is a big no-no as well because your body may lack the nutrients to sustain throughout a more intense workout. In this case, most experts also agree that you should fuel your body with small snacks at least one hour before your morning run. A simple protein smoothie or Greek yogurt will suffice in the morning.
Although the above may apply to everyday runners like you and I. There are endurance athletes who are trained to eat and run at the same time. This is because these athletes compete in marathon distance and must ingest some nutrition during the race itself. Despite so, you will never see these athletes eating heavy meals while running as well.
All in all, how long should you wait to run after eating? For all except morning runners, it is best to run at least three to four hours after eating, especially if you are going for a long distance or more intense run.
Cheers and Start Running Today