Meal suggestions before a run to avoid being sick


Please can anyone suggest some meals that I can eat before a run whilst I'm just getting started...again?

Last night I went for my second run which is 2.5 miles and takes 20 minutes and avoided the silly beginners pace of running too fast. I researched how long I should wait till after a meal before I go for a run, which was to wait 2 hours. So I waited 2 hours and 30 minutes after eating two egg and bacon sandwiches. When I finished my run I went straight to the sink to puke up.

I'm not bothered one bit about the puking, I know that will go once I build up stamina, etc. Plus as soon as I puked up I was fine a minute later. What bothers me is that twice I had to stop and walk for a minute because I felt like I was going to puke. I don't want my runs to be affected (put me off) because of eating the wrong food. So in hindsight bacon and egg sandwiches are probably too rich for my stomach before a run. Which is why I was wondering if you guys have any suggestions?

I'm not a natural runner. I'd rather continue doing intense sessions on my exercise bike than go for a run. But I feel running is far superior to an exercise bike, so I really want to stick with running this time and not wimp out like I have in the past.

Many thanks in advance. Sorry if this question gets asked often. I did do a search but I couldn't find anything related.


  • I think it's a matter of trial and error, as it's different for everyone.

    I never managed to find something that doesn't make me feel ill, so I get around it by running before breakfast.

    I have heard people recommending smoothies as a light, easily digested "meal," but you would probably have to top up straight after running  too if you were to try that.

  • Can you go for a run before tea ? You don't need the meal as fuel - your body has plenty of stores.
  • Perhaps you are running far too quick?  try to slow the pace and see if that makes any difference

  • 2.5 miles in 20 minutes and you think that's not quick. Yikes !image
  • Quicker than me, that's for sure.  I do around two miles in twenty minutes. image

  • Thank you to everyone who has responded. So you reckon it is nothing to do with food and is simply because I am running to quick?

    I'll look to get a pedometer as my mileage is based on Google Maps, so it might be that the distance is wrong. It seems accurate though because I can walk a mile in 20 minutes. When i'm running my breathing and muscle's feel fine, it's just the slow build up to wanting to puke that I don't get when on my exercise bike or doing weights. Which is why I didn't see puking as a body signal that I am running too fast. I thought it was the wrong type of food creating a bloated feeling because my stomach was being 'jiggled' about.

    I do rely heavily on motivation music to reach my aerobic/anaerobic zone (I'm not aiming for these zones whilst new to running), so i'll probably switch to classical music to slow me down when running.

    I thought about running before tea, but I don't want to risk burning muscle and messing up my body building training. I know there is counter arguements for everything when it comes to exercise and diet, but I'd rather continue puking than risk burning muscle for fuel.

  • You'll need to run for 2 hours or so before your body needs any fuel other than glycogen, and you'd need to be in a state of dire starvation before it uses muscle rather than fat as a back-up to glycogen! 
    Once you're used to running on an empty stomach, I doubt you'll look back. 

  • You're body building training?  Probably worth you reading a basic GCSE textbook on physiology.  When you puke you bring up all the food you ate, along with scraping it along your oesophagus and dripping Hydrochloric acid from your stomach into those scrapes.  The same acid goes up into the back of your nose and coats the back of your teeth burning away the enamel.  The nutrients you wanted from the food to build your muscle are now all over the pavement.

    Luckily you're only a mile and a quarter from home, so your intramuscular stores of glycogen, failing that liver glycogen, failing that fat, will get you home with about two days walking to spare before your muscles start to suffer, assuming you didn't eat throughout those two days of walking.

    Would you still rather puke?

  • Considering the latest news on GCSE's I'm glad I skipped that text book.

    Of course I wouldn't rather puke. I was empathising that I don't want to undo my weight training. I used to be a weakling who sat on his arse watching TV and playing computer games. I would still much rather do those things than any form of exercise, but that aint wise. So if I am going to put in effort to do exercise I want to get the most out of it. I have always been slim, so body building is a better goal for me and, for me more important to me than running.

    Thanks for the useful information though.

    Thanks Pethead aswell for the info about glycogen. I hate doing things on an empty stomach but I think I'll set it as a new challange for myself.

    Now I'm off to play Battlefield 3 before I do my weights.

  • what about just eating some cereal before a run, some porridge or even just having a banana I have to be honest i cannot eat alot before a run and prefer morning running to evening running ( when i do evening runs with my club mates I actually eat my mail mean about 4pm in the afternoon and then eat after my run then )

    can you also take little sips of water on your run too to see if that helps you?

  • I see you said you had eaten eggs before your run. That is the one thing I can't eat pre-run, tried it a couple of times and both times I was ill after the run.

    Everyone is different, so you just need to find what works for you. I run before eating my dinner during the week. When I do my long runs at the weekend I eat peanut butter and jam sandwiches a couple of hours before I start.

  • Personally I've found any of the following to be ok for me before a run (1h+ before running):

    Porridge with nutsseedserriesmaple syrup


    Toast + Preserve

    Drop Scone + Preserve

    I'm fond of a smoothie as well.

    Whatever is in my stomach (or even on an empty stomach), if I am running at PB pace over shorter distances I do tend to feel queasy. I believe it's something to do with you digestive system being starved of blood as it's being used by your skeletal muscles when under severe exercise stress.

    As has been said before, every body is different, you'll need to use some trial and error.


  • Dobo Bobo wrote (see)
    I thought about running before tea, but I don't want to risk burning muscle and messing up my body building training. I know there is counter arguements for everything when it comes to exercise and diet, but I'd rather continue puking than risk burning muscle for fuel.

    Well, if you puke up what you've just eaten, you've not digested it, have you? And if you haven't digested it, then it can't have fuelled your run, can it? You'd be better running on empty than running with a bellyful of food you're not going to digest, then puking it up when you finish...

    Instead of a big heavy plateful, I'd suggest a light snack a couple of hours before running. I used to have to wait at least 3 hours between eating anything solid and running but I think you can 'train' your stomach to get used to it over time, as I can now run less than an hour after eating. When I had a hard time with eating and running, I was okay with yoghurt, bananas, and small portions of porridge or readybrek. try something like that, and save the main meal for after you've finished.

  • Have a look at the Optimum Nutrition 4 Sport website; lots of good stuff! It explains in detail what Pethead is talking about above. The two articles below provide some good stuff; let me know what you think...

  • Many thanks for the further posts, all of them are helpful whilst I develop my running. I'm sorry for the late response, things have been busy busy busy! I started reading the information in the links provided too, but due to lack of time i've yet to finish reading.

    I'm going to keep trying different things but last Friday I went on the same 2.5 mile circuit before tea and even though I was slightly hungry it was soon forgotten about within 5 minutes of running. Though I did have a 'healthy' snack bar about 2 hours before running, so think that might of been a factor. I want to avoid the snack bars though otherwise it's pointless running for the main sake of burning calories! I did the run again in 20 minutes and the run felt comfortable with no urge to be sick. However, it was straight to the sink again when I got home but I just had a coughing fit which I put down to the damp weather. (I contracted pleurisy 3 years ago and get a cough whenever the weather is damp - which is often in Manchester.) It didn't put me off and I was all set to go running this afternoon till my boss messed things up.

    Thanks again for your help!

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