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Best Things to Eat Before & After A Run

It’s crucial to both charge your body pre-run and then replenish your body post-run. Take a look at our guide on the best things to eat before and after running and get prepared for your next virtual run!

Making a decision as to what to eat before or after a run is all about what works best for you. Everybody has a different tolerance and relationship to food, so there is no definitive answer as to what food is best for fuelling your run, or to help with recovery.

However, there are still some general guidelines as to what you should prepare as a pre-run or post-run snack.

When should I eat before a run?

Running too soon after eating can lead to stitches, but running on an empty stomach can cause fatigue. As a general rule, many runners choose to eat around one and a half to two hours before running or have a snack around 30 minutes before. However, it does depend on what works best for you. Try to take into account the time of day, how long you will be running for and how intense the session will be before planning your meals.

What food can I eat before a run?

  • Whole Grain food such as Bread, Pasta and Quinoa
  • Lean Proteins such as Eggs and Salmon
  • Fresh Fruit like Bananas, Berries and Oranges
  • Peanut Butter
  • Almonds
  • Low-Fat Yoghurt 

What Food Can I Eat Before a Run?

What food should I avoid eating before a run?

  • Spicy Food
  • High-Fibre Vegetables such as Broccoli
  • Lactose-Rich Foods like Cheese and Cream
  • Legumes like Chick Peas, Lentils and Kidney Beans
  • You should also avoid Fizzy drinks 

What should I eat before and after a short run?

If you’re planning a run that’s under an hour, then it isn’t always necessary for you to eat beforehand as your body will be fueled by stored glycogen. However, if you feel hungry then you should eat before a short run to avoid feeling ill. If the run is pretty intense or could be longer, then you should make sure you eat something small.

  • A Protein Shake with Fruit
  • A Bagel with Egg or Peanut Butter
  • Cereal and Milk 

You should always eat after a run to replenish your energy and aid recovery. Always refuel within half an hour to an hour of completing a run. Try to choose a small meal or snack with a 3:1 carbohydrates to protein ratio. Protein is great for repairing any damaged tissue post-run but try to choose protein foods that are low in fat and cholesterol.

Although easy runs don’t require you to eat before, you should try to schedule these runs around your regular meal plan. Use your breakfast as a recovery meal from a morning run, or if you’re running in the afternoon, eat your usual snack an hour before you run and enjoy your dinner post-run.

After a morning run, choose from:

  • Eggs with Toast
  • A Protein Shake
  • Oatmeal made with Milk
  • Fish

After an evening run, choose from:

  • Salmon and Rice
  • A Vegetable Stir-fry 

What should I eat before and after a long run?

If you’re planning a run that’s longer than an hour, then you should eat a larger pre-run meal about two to three hours before a run to allow for digestion. Your body will require more energy for a longer run, so choose some simple carbohydrates that will quickly become fuel. Choosing whole-grain foods will provide you with additional nutrients, including B vitamins, zinc, iron, magnesium and fibre to help you feel fuller for longer.

  • A bowl of Oatmeal with Banana pieces
  • Boiled or Steamed Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Whole Grain Bread
  • Whole Grain Pasta 

Wholegrain Pasta is a Good Post Run Meal

If you’re competing in a long race or marathon, you should eat your breakfast around three hours before the start just like you would before a long run when training. However, to avoid being hungry at the start line, you may want an extra snack around half an hour before the race begins.

  • Bagel with Peanut Butter

What should I eat before an intense sprint or interval workout run?

Sprints and interval workouts can be more intense than a steady run, which means you need to prepare your body with some quick pre-run carbohydrates to give you the energy required.

  • Plain Greek Yoghurt with Blueberries
  • Banana with Peanut Butter
  • A handful of Dry Cereal

What can I eat during a run? 

Many runners choose sports drinks to keep them hydrated and replace any lost glucose during a run. These drinks also provide sodium, potassium and carbohydrates as fast-digesting sugars. However, if you’d like a real food snack during your run, then you may consider the below list of foods.

  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Energy Bars 

Grapes are a Great Mid-Run Snack!

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