What Should Runners Be Eating?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

A good race depends on more than just your training. To improve your speed and performance, you also need to consider what you are putting into your body. The correct foods at the correct time may boost your running performance tremendously.

For runners, food is far more than straightforward nutrition — food is fuel. What and when should you eat prior to, during as well as after your runs? What should you drink? How much? When you are training hard for a long race you are going to have to adjust how you eat; we’ll show you how to make those changes.


When you start a run, you shouldn’t feel starved or stuffed. You don’t want to eat anything directly before running as it could lead to cramping or annoying side stitches. However, if you run on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy and leave you feeling quite tired during your runs.

Figuring out what and when to eat prior to a run takes some time for each runner to figure out. Research about optimal timing and food choices has produced mixed results.

For instance, in one published study that investigated meal timing and exercise, study authors made the suggestion that consuming carbs within one hour before exercise could potentially impair performance when compared to carbohydrate ingestion between two and three hours before exercise. However they also noted that other studies demonstrated a performance benefit.

Another study suggested that it is commonly recommended to consume snacks or meals high in carbohydrate for between one and four hours before higher-intensity, longer duration exercise. However, that study also makes the suggestion that what you eat before exercise is dependent on what you’ve eaten in your diet in the days before exercise.

As quite a general rule, some running gurus make the recommendation that you eat a light meal around one and a half to two hours prior to you starting running, or a small snack about half an hour to 60 minutes before you go running. But you should experiment during your training runs and workouts to see what works best for you.

The Best Foods For Runners


If you really need a high-carb energy booster prior to your afternoon run, you can’t go wrong with a banana. Also, this fruit contains a healthy dose of potassium (about 400 mg). This is particularly important for long-distance runs or in hot temperatures when you will probably sweat a lot and thus lose a lot of valuable minerals. Potassium (in addition to other minerals such as sodium, magnesium and chloride) balances this loss and lowers your blood pressure simultaneously


Oatmeal is the absolute perfect breakfast when you are wanting to go out for a run after you’ve finished eating. It offers you plenty of carbs (one serving contains about 25 g) and this is high in fibre. In addition, oats have a low glycaemic index which means that they cause your blood sugar level to slowly rise, provide you with energy over a longer period of time and make sure that you keep you feeling full longer. In addition, did you know that a healthy adult should get about 50% of his or her total energy from carbohydrates?

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Peanut Butter

Here we are speaking about pure peanut butter without any additives such as sugar, salt or oil. It’s a good supply of vitamin E, which is perhaps the most effective antioxidant among the vitamins.

While it is true that peanuts have a lot of fat (making them anything but low in calories), it mainly consists of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. These can assist to lower cholesterol levels in your blood. In addition, they are important for strengthening your immune system, quickening your post-run recovery as well as preventing injuries.

Also peanut butter contains a good deal of protein and so helps your muscles grow, making it a crucial part of a runner’s diet. Try spreading peanut butter on whole grain toast and topping this off with banana slices – it tastes amazing! It is also great for a snack with a couple of slices of apple.

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