Here's why you don't feel hungry after a run – and how to get post-run nutrition right - Women's Running

Here’s why you don’t feel hungry after a run – and how to get post-run nutrition right

Author: Kate Sellers

Read Time:   |  May 23, 2022

Not hungry after a run or, worse, feel sick when you eat? Nutritionist Michelle Sanchez tells us why and how to make the most of post-run nutrition

We know we need to refuel after our runs, but there’s nothing worse than feeling as though you’re forcing down food. We talk to Michelle Sanchez, nutritionist with the College of Naturopathic Medicine, to find out how to get post-run nutrition right for us and our bodies.

Why don’t I feel hungry after a run?

Exercising stimulates certain changes in the body. It increases blood flow to the muscles of the heart and legs, slows down digestion and suppresses particular hormones, such as ghrelin. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for hunger. It stimulates appetite and food intake, and promotes fat storage. Exercise also increases production of the hunger-supressing hormone, peptide YY, which reduces appetite and food intake further. This is why runners are often not hungry after exercising, and can feel nauseas after food, including post-workout gels and bars. 

How to refuel without feeling sick

Despite not being hungry, it’s important to refuel and rehydrate after a long run. Your muscles become depleted of essential nutrients and cells can dehydrate. Refuelling aids muscle recovery and replenishes cells with fuel.

Both protein and carbohydrates are key post-workout. Smoothies are a great option, providing liquid nutrition to refuel and hydrate. Add some fruit or vegetables (blueberries, bananas, avocado, apples, broccoli, spinach), nuts, seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin) and superfoods (maca, spirulina, acai).

Preparing before your run

Making sure that your body is fuelled with the right nutrition before your run is key, too, especially if you know that it might be a while before you get your post-run snack. One to three hours before a workout, have some food. Nut butters (almond, cashew), a chia pudding, a banana, avocado or oats provide an excellent source of nutrients.

Looking for pre-run snack recipes? Try these chocolate energy balls!

Drinking sufficient fluids (water and herbal teas) before and during a workout and ensuring your electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium) are balanced. It will also prevent dehydration, which can worsen gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea. Coconut water a great source of natural electrolytes. 

About the author

Michelle Sanchez is a nutritionist, naturopath and medical herbalist with the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

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Written by

Kate Sellers

Kate Sellers

Kate is our Senior Digital Executive and a keen runner. She's also a qualified Personal Trainer and yoga teacher, so she knows her stuff about workouts, cross-training and stretching. She loves to combine running and exploring, so you'll often find her testing out the latest kit in exciting locations across the UK and beyond. Kate champions exercising for enjoyment. "Most of the year, you'll find me running for fun and wellbeing," she says. "That being said, I do still love the thrill of training for a race from time to time!"

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