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What should your sugar intake be before your run?

A good rule of thumb is to consume about 20 to 30 grams at least two to three hours before your run

It’s well known that runners need and use carbohydrates as fuel. All of the carbohydrates that we eat are composed of sugars, which are first turned into glucose in our blood, then stored in our muscles as glycogen. There are many misconceptions surrounding sugar, which makes up a carbohydrate, and whether it is good or bad for runners. When you exercise, your body craves sugar as your body burns its muscular glucose stores.

Simple sugars, like glucose, make up carbohydrates and they are good for athletes to incorporate into their diet as it provides your body with natural macronutrients to help your organs and muscles function.

The amount of sugar you should take in daily differs for every athlete and depends on their health, but according to a 2013 study, a good rule of thumb is to consume 20 to 30 grams of sugar two to three hours prior to a run. If you’re going out for more than an hour, you may choose to drop a sports drink on your route or bring gels or chews to replenish your energy levels. These gels/chews are simple and easy to carry products that are high in sugars to fuel you on the run without upsetting your stomach.

The juicer.

Food such as oranges, bananas, mangoes and potatoes are high in glucose and provide runners with immediate pre-run energy. Whole grains are also an important part of a runner’s diet for the long run and are high in glucose but can be generally hard to digest before working out, due to their high fibre content. Therefore, if you are looking for a pre-run snack, you may prefer to stick to fruit rather than a sandwich or pizza.

Sugars you’ll want to avoid are cookies and cakes, as they are high in high-fructose corn syrup, which can negatively affect your running performance, causing you to cramp up.

The effect your sugar intake can have on athletic performance mainly depends on the characteristics of the exercise and the type plus the amount you consumed and the time of intake. If you are planning to run first thing in the morning or after work, try to take into account your sugar levels an hour before to guarantee your body is fuelled for performance.

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