It’s a question that all you fitness fanatics want answered, “How Long Before a Run Should I Eat a Banana?”
In truth, this will vary from person-to-person.
Your digestive system is likely to be different to the next person.
Plus, it also depends on what type of run you’re going to undertake.
And even the color of your banana can make a difference (yes, really).
But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered on the banana-running equation.
How Long Before a Run Should I Eat a Banana?
Most people can easily digest a banana in 15-30 minutes. However, it is not unheard-of for long distance runners to eat a banana immediately prior to, and even during, their run. Green bananas contain more starchy carbohydrates than yellow bananas, so they are harder to digest. Plus, consuming bananas after your run is a great way to replenish your depleted glycogen stores.
1. What Type of Run?
You’ll typically find that consuming a banana 15-30 minutes before your run is sufficient.
This will give you enough time to digest the banana, while providing a slow release of energy.
With that being said, this very much depends on the type of run that you’re doing.
I will say that consuming a banana a few minutes prior is fine if you’re looking at a steady-state run of 2-3 miles.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with completing a jog of this distance fasted.
Your body will definitely have enough carbs and glycogen stores to see you through to the end.
However, for something like sprinting, hill runs, or a longer distance you would generally be better off having a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats beforehand.
If this is the case then you’ll want to eat at least 40-60 minutes before you set off.
Your “meal” could be as simple as a banana, some peanut butter, and a handful of nuts.
Then again, you may want to take on a heartier meal, such as oats with banana, berries, and nuts.
Obviously, the more food that you consume, the longer you should wait until you start running.
It’s also important to realise that our individual bodies react differently.
So, whereas someone will be fine to start exercising within 30 minutes of eating, others may have to wait for twice the amount of time.
Therefore, it very much depends on you and how quickly you can digest what you eat beforehand.
2. Yellow is Better Than Green
When it comes to consuming a banana before your run the color of the fruit makes a huge difference.
Basically, a green banana that hasn’t ripened as yet contains a higher amount of starchy carbohydrates.
Green bananas are more difficult for the body to break down and digest.
However, a ripe yellow banana will mean that the starchy carbs have converted to sugar.
So, these are far easier to digest and will give you an instant boost of energy.
You could even go as far as to eat a near over-ripened banana that has turned brown.
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A brown banana will be much sweeter to the taste, thus meaning it has a higher sugar content.
Once again this will provide you with an instant boost of energy.
Why Are Ripe Bananas Sweeter Than Green Ones?
3. Should You Eat a Banana After Your Run?
There are various times that you can choose to eat a banana.
If you take marathon runners as an example, they will usually eat bananas pre-race, during, and even afterwards.
Consuming bananas at any of these times has certain benefits.
As you know, a pre-race banana will provide you with a slow release of energy.
However, the longer you’re running for, the more energy you’ll be expending.
This will also mean that you are using up your glycogen stores.
So, it makes perfect sense to replenish your glycogen stores during a long race.
Plus, an after race banana is a great way to restore some of that lost energy.
So, as you can see, even eating a banana post-race can be a great idea.
As I say, this all depends on the type of run that you’re undertaking.
You’ll typically want to eat a banana 15-30 minutes before a run.
However, a green banana will take longer to digest than a yellow or brown banana.
This is due to the fact that the starchy carbohydrates of a green banana have not yet converted into sugar.
Furthermore, depending on the length and type of run you may need to eat a banana during and afterwards to replenish lost glycogen stores.
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