If you are a runner, you would know how important diet is in the equation of performance. The success that you have at an event would rest on the diet that you consume and better yet, the breakfast that you eat on the day of the race. So when it comes to eggs, should eggs be included in a pre-run meal. Are there any real benefits of eggs for runners? Should runners include eggs in their diet and training regimen and if so how many? We will look to answer these questions and provide you with some valuable insight into the relationship between eggs and athletic performance for runners.
Eggs are versatile and can be cooked in various ways. For a very long time, they have gotten a lot of praise for the various health benefits they bring to the table by way of nutrition. They have similarly gotten a lot of criticism due to the health implications they cause due to high fat and cholesterol levels.
Runners have much to gain by incorporating eggs into their diet. Eggs are a reliable source of protein and work to keep the bodies of athletes at optimum levels of performance. They help maintain muscle mass and can lead to leaner body weight. They help with bone-strengthening and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
That being the case, are eggs suitable as a pre-run meal? Are there any benefits or drawbacks and if so, is it recommended for runners to consume eggs before a run. Before we take a deeper look into the relationship between eggs and running, let’s first answer the question that may have led you here.
Are Eggs Good Before a Run?
Eggs can be a good pre-run meal, however, contain high doses of protein which takes longer for the body to digest. Hence, it is important that you don’t consume eggs too close to the run.
You want to give yourself a few hours to digest the eggs. If you do provide ample time for digestion, eggs can be a great source of fuel.
The protein content of eggs work to keep muscles well fueled, allowing you to stretch your muscle activity to greater limits. A readily available source of protein as that from eggs consumed before a run will provide the protein that your muscles need to maintain optimum performance. This is the primary reason why eggs are considered good as a pre-run meal.
Eggs are a popular choice of breakfast for many athletes, including runners, who see real benefits from eating something real for breakfast. Eggs are heavy and can satisfy your hunger, leaving you feeling full and ready for your race. The trick is in ensuring that you provide yourself with sufficient time for digestion.
If you provide insufficient time for digestion, this can lead to digestive distress during the run, which can hamper performance.
When you are considering eggs as a pre-run meal, you want to steer clear of hard-boiled eggs. It is best to eat soft boiled or scrambled eggs, for when the eggs are prepared as such, they are easier to digest. Hard-boiled eggs are much harder for your gut to digest, which results in more time being required for proper digestion before the run. If you don’t provide sufficient time for digestion before the run, as mentioned, you could face digestive distress such as gas and bloating.
Are Eggs Good After a Run?
During a run, you usually stretch muscles to the limit, which results in muscles being torn and worn out. This is a normal part of strenuous exercise and will leave your muscles requiring protein to repair the damage; heal and grow. Eggs being a valuable source of protein can help the repair of muscles and aid recovery.
You will notice improved recovery time if you consume eggs after a run. They are a great way to refuel after strenuous activity and can work wonders when combined with an easily digestible carbohydrate source.
The longer you run, the more muscle activity there will be and the more worn out your muscles will be. With that, it will be more likely that you would require a reliable protein source to repair the damage.
Eggs can be a crucial part of a post-run diet and have much to benefit the runner by way of recovery from the event.
Benefits of Eggs for Runners
Eggs are a valuable source of protein. It is the protein content of eggs that make them a reliable addition to the diet for runners.
The protein in eggs helps to repair and heal muscles, allowing for faster recovery and better performance over time. Eggs when incorporated into a training regimen will allow the runner to maintain lean body weight. It will allow them to burn more fat and maintain quality muscle mass which will boost performance.
Eggs are also a reliable source of vitamin D, which means it is great for your bone health. Eggs will promote healthier bones, leaving you with a stronger skeletal system. Stronger bones and joints are especially valuable for runners for it allows them to not only excel but prevent injury. It is less likely that you would seriously injure yourself while running, so long as you have strong bones and joints.
Eggs also contain a helpful dose of vitamin B12. Why is vitamin B12 important for runners you may ask? Vitamin B12 is responsible for the maintenance of the body’s nerves and blood cells. This vitamin ensures that you have healthy nerves and blood cells, thereby preventing anaemia which can lead to tiredness and weakness.
Hence, it isn’t difficult to see why incorporating eggs in a runners diet is wise. With sufficient vitamin B12, it is more likely that you will maintain good energy levels during a run and will help you fight fatigue and tiredness during an event.
Eggs are a valuable addition to the runner’s diet. Regardless of whether you include it in your pre-run meal or your post-run meal, it will aid you to boost performance by helping various internal functions in your body.
Drawbacks of Eggs for Runners
The key drawback with regards to eggs rests on the timing of consumption. As mentioned, if you eat eggs too close to a run, you could face digestive distress which could hamper performance.
Eggs contain high doses of protein. Though it is an easily digestible source of protein in comparison to meat and fish, it still requires plenty of time to digest.
Obvious to say, the benefits of eggs for runners are much greater than the drawbacks. However, the general drawbacks of eggs do still apply to runners. Eggs are known to contain high amounts of fat and cholesterol. This could harm the health of your heart and can even lead to diabetes.
Though eggs contain LDL, they do consistently raise HDL which is known as the good cholesterol. This goes to benefit the runner as opposed to proving as a disadvantage.
However, the overconsumption of eggs does bring with it various complications and can lead to high cholesterol levels, even in runners. Hence, it is a good idea to stick within the safe limit of eggs and eat it in recommended moderation.
When is the Best Time to Eat Eggs for Runners?
If you are considering eggs as a pre-run meal, you should eat them at least 2 hours before the run. This will give your body ample time to digest the meal, thereby preventing digestive distress from hampering performance.
Apart from that, you should also look to consume a valuable protein source within an hour of exercise. Hence, it is a good idea to eat a post-run meal containing eggs within an hour of finishing the run.
Apart from eggs before and after a run, anytime is a good time for eggs. Just so long as you stay within the limit on the number of eggs you can eat per day to prevent side effects, anytime is a good time for eggs.
Lunch, breakfast, dinner or even as an in-between snack, eggs work well to provide your body with a good source of nutrition.
However, when you are considering the best time to eat eggs for runners, it would have to be within an hour after a run, for the protein in the eggs will allow for faster recovery of muscles. Coming in second would be a few hours before a run, for it is a reliable fuel source that will help you boost performance levels.
Should Eggs be Included in a Race Day Breakfast?
If you have been training with eggs in your pre-run meal, then most certainly yes. Otherwise, simply adding eggs which is a high protein source on the day of the race may be risky. This is because your gut isn’t used to the protein source and may take longer to digest it. Unless the eggs are properly digested, it could cause digestive distress during the race, which could cause havoc. If you do choose to include eggs in your pre-run meal on the day of the race, ensure to provide yourself sufficient time to digest it; 2 to 3 hours at the least.
Don’t get us wrong, eggs are a valuable addition to the diet of a runner and can work wonders when included in a pre-run meal. They contain various nutrients that can help you boost your performance. However, eating eggs as a one-off thing as a pre-run meal on the day of the race won’t really provide you with a competitive edge. You would have to include it within your training regimen to see real results.
The problem rests with digestion and how your gut works. If your gut is used to digesting a protein source with your breakfast every day, then it is less likely to cause an issue. However, if you are used to drinking a green smoothie before a run and suddenly switch to eggs on the day of the race, this could cause digestive issues.
If you are looking to rely on eggs for an added performance boost, it is best to include it much earlier during training stages, to allow your body to adapt to the nutrient source to gain any advantage and benefit.
Are Raw Eggs Better for Runners?
In general, though raw eggs contain more nutrients in comparison to cooked eggs, raw eggs are harder for your body to digest. This leads to the better absorption of nutrients from cooked eggs as opposed to raw eggs.
Though you may be inclined to think that raw eggs have more value, it is not exactly the case. Hence, when it comes to runners, you have more to gain from eating cooked eggs as opposed to eating a raw egg before a run.
If you do choose to eat raw eggs, it is advisable that you give yourself more time to digest the eggs. This means eating it at least 3 hours before a run. On the contrary, cooked eggs take less time to digest, which means you can consume them closer to the run.
There is no real advantage of eating raw eggs over cooked eggs. Much of the hype that surrounds eating raw eggs to boost performance isn’t true. Cooked eggs will allow you to absorb more protein. In fact, one study found that your body is able to absorb 90% of the protein from a cooked egg in comparison to only 50% of the protein from a raw egg.
How Many Eggs Per Day for Runners?
Eggs contain cholesterol, which is why in the past, it was recommended that it should be limited to one egg a day. In more recent years, findings have led us to believe that eggs consistently raise HDL (good cholesterol levels) which thereby negates the effects of LDL (bad cholesterol.) As a result, it is now considered safe to eat up to 3 eggs per day.
You don’t want to consume more than 3 eggs a day, regardless of how strenuous your physical activity may be. Eating too many eggs can lead to bloating, vomiting and stomach related issues. It can even negatively impact your kidneys.
Though the NHS in the UK states that ‘there is no recommended limit on how many eggs you can eat,’ many dieticians and health experts usually recommend that you stay within the 3 eggs a day limit.
How to Prepare Eggs for Runners
When it comes to runners, the preparation of the egg is more important when you include it in your pre-run meal. This is because you usually have a limited time to digest the food that you eat before a run and would want to consume the egg in a form that is easy for your body to digest.
Hard-boiled eggs are known to be harder to digest in comparison to scrambled or soft boiled eggs. Hence, when preparing eggs to include in your pre-run meal, it is best to avoid hard-boiled eggs since these could take longer for your gut to digest them properly.
Otherwise, when considering eggs as a post-run meal or any other time of the day, you can rely on the various ways to prepare eggs to eat them whichever way you prefer. This is because, during these times of the day, you don’t have to worry about quickly digesting your food. The food can digest as slow as necessary and it won’t really impact your day.
You don’t want your gut to be digesting food during training or exercise. This could lead to indigestion. Hence, when considering eggs within a pre-run meal, steer clear of hard-boiled eggs and give yourself a few hours to properly digest it before the run.
Eggs can be a great addition to the diet of a runner and can be equally excellent as a pre-run meal. Just so long as you provide yourself sufficient time to digest them, eggs can be a valuable source of nutrients that will help you boost performance.
The diet of a runner is very important in the success that they see. Many runners have their own special formula for success that they use in training. Eggs can quite easily be a valuable part of this equation and provide you with a competitive edge on race day. Don’t just wait till race day to add eggs into your diet, incorporate them in your pre-run and post-run meals and observe the changes in performance during training.
Remember, if you notice digestive issues during your run, it may be due to the fact that you didn’t provide your body with ample time to digest the eggs. Hence, try eating your pre-run meal a little earlier to give yourself more time for digestion.
We hope that we answered your questions surrounding eggs for runners and that reading this word to word has helped you better understand how to incorporate eggs into your training regimen. If you do choose to add eggs to your training regimen, we are sure it will aid you with recovery and will lead to stronger and better performance.