Your Festive Food Running Recovery Plan
Feeling bloated and full but need to go running? These steps will get you ready to run.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling but one we’re all familiar with at this time of year! Getting ready to head out for a run, with a bloated belly and tight tum from festive over-eating. Prevention is better than cure, but nobody expects all runners to abstain from indulging at Christmas. So if you’re full, bloated or retaining water, here’s what you can do to feel more comfortable when you run.
Leave Enough Time
Plan ahead so you have sufficient time between eating and running. This is just common sense. You wouldn’t head out for a run 20 minutes after eating a Sunday roast, so don’t make Christmas eating any different. If possible, run before any large meals. But if you can’t go running in the morning, make sure you leave at least 90 minutes between a heavy meal and a run. 2-3 hours would be even better. And don’t run after you’ve been drinking, even if you’ve only had 1 unit of alcohol. You risk running with impaired judgement, dehydration, and less focus.
Water really is an amazing antidote for overeating and drinking. It supports your digestive system, flushes out water retention, and reduces that bloated feeling. If you feel uncomfortably full, drinking extra water will help. You might not want to fill yourself up any more if you’re already feeling bloated, but water will move through your system quickly, reducing bloat and water retention. Aim to drink 1.5l-2l of water over 3 hours prior to your run. Leave yourself 30 minutes without water so your training session is comfortable.
Fuel Up Lightly
Your eating habits are probably all over the place at this time of year. It’s still important to fuel up for your training runs so you can get the most out of your exercise time. Eat your normal pre-run meal, whatever combination of carbohydrate and protein you know works well for you. If you feel you’ve overeaten recently, you could simply reduce the portion a little. But this meal is still important, so don’t avoid it in an attempt to rebalance things!
Avoid Too Much Fibre
Dietary fibre is healthy, but too much of it can contribute to that bloated, uncomfortable feeling. And you’re probably getting plenty of it at this time of year. Ironically, many people eat more fruit and veg over Christmas than they usually do. Lay off the vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, and fresh fruit for 3 hours before your run, and make sure your pre-run snack isn’t heavy on the fibre.
Wear Comfortable Running Clothes
Make sure your running kit is comfortable. When your belly feels tight as a drum and your legs are a bit puffy, you don’t want to endure the discomfort of a tight t-shirt or socks digging into your ankles. Wear your comfiest clothing which won’t rub, chafe, or feel too tight. And consider layering up – a little extra sweat can help you feel better after over-indulging.
Finally, give yourself a pat on the back for making it out for a run when most people would give in to the heavy, bloated feeling. OK so it might not have been your best-ever training run. But you did it. You feel so much better for it. And your body is thanking you!