1 hour and 16 minutes.
Truth is, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. You need to experiment and work what’s best for you. You’ll soon find out. Maybe 1 hour before won’t be enough time for you to digest – you’ll get a stitch and feel sicky. Maybe over two hours is too much? You’ll get stomach cramps and feel hungry.
For me, I leave it 2 hours if it is a race or a hard training session. I’ll leave it about an hour and a half for anything light.
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that I swear by porridge for breakfast. Here is my post on porridge for breakfast: https://livforrunning.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/porridge-for-brekki/ And here is the link for my TOP 5 NUTRITION TIPS https://livforrunning.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/my-top-5-tried-and-tested-nutrition-tips/
For some reason, one day, my porridge 2 hours before didn’t seem enough. Before a hard training session, I experimented and also had a banana 1 hour before. Good news for me: no stitch and lots of energy! I have now added this into my pre-race routine too.
However, another experiment didn’t go so well. 20 minutes before starting a long run I was very peckish so had a few nuts (not even very many, I literally had about 3 almonds). The result: sharp shooting stitch for most of the run. Never again.
It is vital you know what works for you. Experimenting or risking trying a new eating-time on ‘Race day’ has the potential to end badly. Experiment at home when there is nothing at stake. (Speaking of steak, have that kind of food after running, not before). Generally, it’s best to stick to foods rich in carbohydrates before – think oats, cereals, toast etc.
If you have no idea, I’d try my method first as I don’t think it’s too extreme. (Eat two hours before race). But like I said, there is no set rule. A friend from my running club in Thirsk can happily eat 30/40 mins before. On the other hand, Kate Carter (Running editor for The Guardian) http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog swears by eating 3 hours before.
Have fun finding your perfect method! (hopefully without too many stitches and sluggish runs along the way).
Run to get faster, run to get fitter, run to feel happier.
All the best,