How Long Should I Wait to Run After Eating?

Something that all of us have to do as runners is eat, right? Eat, run, sleep, repeat. That's kind of what we do day in, day out. But when you start to combine those things, specifically the eating and the running, it can get a little bit trickier.
How Long Should I Wait to Run After Eating?


Something that all of us have to do as runners is eat, right? Eat, run, sleep, repeat. That's kind of what we do day in, day out. But when you start to combine those things, specifically the eating and the running, it can get a little bit trickier. So you want to know we're going to talk about today. What's the magic amount of time you have to wait after eating before you go run?

Welcome to another edition of Runner's High, if you don't know, I'm Jesse Funk and this show, we talk about running everything running in endurance related. So if that is your thing, if you consider yourself a runner or a triathlete, a long-distance person then subscribe to the channel, stick around for more videos every Tuesday and Thursday.

So you want to know about how long do I have to wait after eat before I go run, I've gone and done it, and then I just a feel bad. It feels like foods jumping around my stomach. I want to vomit. Nobody wants that. It's kind of a hallmark of high school runners to run as hard as you can so that you vomit after a workout, a hard workout, or at least at my high school.

But we know that ideally as we grow up into adults, that's probably not the thing that we want to do. Throwing up is not a great fun experience, and you just waste all that food you eat. So how long do you have to wait before you go and run? If you've been on the channel before, this answer is not really going to surprise you because it's like most of my videos and I say it depends.

It depends on you, really. There are experts that suggest two to four hours is the perfect time frame to wait before you go run. But two, four hours is a pretty big window. I mean, it's literally from one end to double that end before you go run. Is that realistic? I don't know that it is number one, because if you're running any amount of miles, you're probably going to be eating every four-ish hours when you're awake. A little snack in between meals, something like that.

So if you wait four hours, then are are you ever able to run? What your guess maybe alleviate your problem because then you don't have to worry about eating and running because you're no longer running. But if you actually want to run, I don't know if that's realistic. And I think part of it it comes down to it depends on you and it depends on what you've eaten.

So, take me, for example, I eat a pretty light breakfast, but it's not. It's also not like what I would consider super, super highly digestible. So it has some protein, has some carbs, has some fats. A good mix of things so that I stay full. I wake up most days around seven-ish. I'm eating breakfast by 7:2, 7:30 and then I usually start my first workout for the day, whatever that is often run about nine, sometimes a little earlier, but not too bad.

So I've already broken that two or four-hour rule, right? Only an hour, hour and a half after I am eating breakfast, am I out working out? And that's any intensity. I can go out for an easy run. I can go out and do tempo. It doesn't really bother me, in part because it's food that I'm eating in the morning, that I'm not having a real heavy meal, meaning things that are really high in fat, really high in fiber, really high in protein, very meat-based.

Those kind of things are going to take your body longer to digest, meaning that the period you have to wait between eating that and then going to run is going to be longer because if you don't, then you have that bouncing around feeling in your stomach where it feels like you're getting punched from the inside while you're trying to do work out.

So the timing again, is critical to digestion time, and that digestion time is partly based on your gut microbiome, which if you want to know more about that, I've spoken to two different people on the Smart Athlete Podcast. Another show I do on this channel comes out on Fridays. I'll link to those episodes. Dr. Matt Laye and Dr. Greg Grosicki that was very early on in the show. So it depends on your gut microbiome. And then it also depends on what you ate.

Now, having talked to a number of high-level athletes and amateurs alike on the Smart Athlete Podcast of this show I mentioned comes out on Fridays here on this channel. I know that it is possible and sometimes preferable to actually train yourself to be able to eat and run sooner. This is something that I worked on when I was doing triathlon for a number of years, in part because I was doing two days.

So you have to fit eating and working out around your own, you know, their own schedule, and you can't always wait that longer period of time. So you kind of have to get used to having a more full stomach or a heavier stomach when you're going out and running. On top of that, there's a consideration that if you're going for a longer and longer distances, you may be eating while you're running, and that takes another kind of discipline or practice to get you used to doing that.

Ultimately, I think it comes on a scale, though, where I can work out immediately if I'm taking something super simple in like, you know, a pre-workout kind of supplement and that can be anything. I mean, I don't take a pre-workout powder of any sort at the moment. But if you do, could be that it could be a gel that's more common for me if I've somehow decided I want to work out immediately after I wake up. I don't typically want to eat breakfast and then go right out to do something like a hard workout right in the morning. So I'll take a gel super easy to digest. That's kind of what they're meant for.

So that's the short end of the scale. All the way to like, we just had Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. Hopefully, you didn't overeat. But still, that's going to be a very heavy meal. Ideally, I'm going to work out before then. But if you do that kind of meal, that's probably going to be closer to the three to four hour time because you need more digestion time.

So within your own biology, you kind of have to figure out and experiment a little bit like these things are more easily digestible for me. Probably going to be, you know, simple carbs on the short end and then on the long end, more complex carbs that have fiber, fats, and a high amount of protein. Anything in between there is more an experiment with your own biology.

But I would suggest the magic number really is depending on you, but it can be as short as 10 minutes if you're taking that simple sugars in or as long as four or five hours if you're doing like that super mega heavy Thanksgiving type of meal.

So what is your experience based on what you've eaten, leave them in the comments below so we can share with each other and kind of learn as a community what is going to be good guidelines for everybody? And then if you want to again, check out those conversations I had with Dr. Greg Grosicki and Dr. Matt Laye as they study the microbiomes of ultra runners on the Smart Athlete Podcast those will be on the screen here shortly. I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner's High.

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