Yes, Runger is a thing!
Runger [ruhng-ger] noun 1. an overwhelming compelling need or desire for vast quantise of food, usually formed from simple sugars, fats and complex carbohydrate after running. 2.the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the immediate need to eat 'all the food': to pass out or collapse from runger. 3. a shortage of food in the house due to piss poor pre run planning; bring Bob Geldof now ... cake and carb famine.
When runger strikes it usually means you've had a great workout. If you've recently upped your mileage or started a new hardcore speed training programme you're going to need more food to fuel your runs, so being hungry after training is to be expected.
But if you're constantly hungry after running it might be time to reevaluate your overall nutrition and lifestyle.
Here are my tips for Rapid Results to Combat Runger.
Don't load up on junk
It's so tempting when you've had a long day at work, then a speedy track session to grab the nearest processed quick fix for dinner. However many processed and pre prepared foods are lacking in vital nutrients. They might provide you with an immediate carb hit, but after a hard training session your body needs nutrients, not just calories, so will be craving real food not just an immediate hit of processed carbs.
Cakes, biscuits, sweets and high GI carbs might be tempting, but they will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels which will then crash leaving you ravenous again! Instead go for whole grains which take longer to digest and provided a more sustained release of energy.
Eat an overall balanced diet
Make sure your underlying diet is balanced and includes plenty of lean protein, starchy carbohydrate from whole-grains, healthy fats, fruit and vegetables. Protein and fat take longer to digest and make you feel full for longer and higher fibre fruit and vegetables will provide you with essential nutrients and fibre for good gut health.
Make sure you eat protein and healthy fats at all meals. So eat eggs for breakfast, have a nutritious lunch that includes protein such as tuna, chicken or pulses and a dinner with lean protein, carbohydrate and plenty of vegetables.
Plan your meals
If you've got no time to shop, prepare and cook food during the week, it might be worth spending a little time when you're less frantic at the weekend thinking about what you are going to eat over the week. Plan meals and shop for ingredients in advance. If you wait until you are hungry before working out what you're going to eat, you're much more likely to make poor food choices and grab the nearest sausage roll! Always load up your trolley with plenty of fruit and veg and healthy snacks, so you've always got something good to keep you going when runger hits.
Plan your snacking
If you've increased your training, or train after work late in the evening it's a great idea to get into the habit of including small healthy snacks into your days. Plan to eat smaller main meals and eat a healthy snack of a handful of nuts, vegetables with hummus or a banana with nut butter mid morning or afternoon to keep your blood sugar constant throughout the day.
If you're tempted by the work vending machine, try taking some balanced and nutritious snacks to work with you, such as nuts and seeds, oatcakes or rice cakes, or carrot, cucumber and celery sticks with humous.
Make sure you're properly hydrated
Do you drink enough water? When you’re dehydrated you can confuse that with hunger. Keep a bottle of water with you to sip on throughout the day. Don’t wait until you are dying of thirst to drink.
But are you really hungry?
Make sure you are actually hungry, and not just bored or thirsty before you dive into the fridge. Get good at recognising when you are actually hungry. Distract yourself and wait for a few minutes see if you are still hungry before diving to the fridge for a snack.
If you need to tune up your diet for training take a look at Eat Right for Running. It's jam packed full of information and useful tips to improve your diet for running.
Let's do this folks!
Helen, Cheesecake Runner x