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A Guide to Nutrition Plan for Runners from Start to Finish

Updated: Jan 12


The advice given on this website does not constitute or replace medical advice.

Please consult with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition plan.


Running can be an excellent way to stay in shape and lead a healthy lifestyle. But, as any runner knows, getting optimum running performance depends largely on what you eat. So eating the right foods rich in energy-giving nutrients and vitamins is key if you want to get the most out of your runs.

Runners need to know what to eat to get the most out of their runs. Typically, runners' diets include a balanced ratio of protein and carbohydrates.

However, runners should also include a variety of healthy fats in their diet. These fats will give you essential fatty acids for your immune system, muscle recovery, and fatigue prevention.

Unfortunately, with so many nutrition plans and diets, it can be not easy to figure out which works best for you. That's why we've created this guide on nutrition plans for runners. In this article, we'll look at some of the best nutrition plans available for runners of all levels and discuss what type of foods will help you hit your peak performance.

What to Eat Before a Run

Before you lace up your shoes and head out the door for a run, it's important to fuel your body with the right foods. What you eat before a run can impact your energy levels, how well you perform, and how quickly you recover afterward.

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning your pre-run meal:

1. The timing of your meal is important. You want to give your body enough time to digest the food, but you don't want to run on a full stomach. A general rule of thumb is to eat 1-2 hours before a run.

2. Make sure you include complex carbohydrates and some protein. Complex carbs will give you sustained energy throughout your run, while protein will help repair muscles afterward. Good sources of complex carbs include oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and sweet potatoes. For protein, try yogurt, nut butter, or a small piece of lean meat, a banana.

3. Avoid high-fat foods as they take longer to digest and may cause stomach discomfort during your run.

4. Be careful not to overdo it on the calories. You don't need to (and shouldn't) stuff yourself before a run – make sure you have enough energy to get through your workout without feeling hungry or sluggish.

avocados, olive oil, and seeds

Here are a few examples of what to eat before a run:

They are found in avocados, olive oil, and seeds.

Fats are a good energy source, but they help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. They can be used as fuel when carbohydrates are depleted. Runners should avoid high-fat foods such as butter or ice cream as an immediate source of fuel.

Runners should aim to eat a full meal two to three hours before running. They may also want to have a small carbohydrate-rich snack before the run.

Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy during exercise. They break down into glucose, which is a vital source of energy for humans. The number of carbohydrates you consume during a run will depend on how long you run and the intensity of your activity.

You should consume about 50 grams of carbohydrates for a one-hour training session. It would help if you increased the carbohydrates you consume for a longer training session energy sources.

Runners should eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. They should also consume at least 20-30 grams of protein to promote muscle protein synthesis.

What to Eat During a Run

A well-rounded diet is always important for athletes, but runners must be especially conscious of what they eat to fuel their activity. Here are some tips on what to eat before, during, and after a run:

Before a Run:

-Eat a small meal or snack 1-2 hours before your run. This will give your body time to digest and convert the food into energy.

-Choose foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Complex carbs like oatmeal, whole grain bread, and sweet potatoes are good choices.

-Avoid eating anything new before a run. Instead, stick with foods that you know agree with your stomach.

During a Run:

-If running for more than an hour, you will need to replenish your energy stores with additional calories. Energy gels or chews are easy to carry and give you a quick boost.

-Drink plenty of fluids! Of course, water is always the best choice, but if running for more than an hour, consider a sports drink to replenish electrolytes like sodium and potassium.

What to Eat After a Run

Assuming you're not a professional runner and just running for fitness, you don't need to worry about carbo-loading. Instead, eat a healthy diet and refuel within 30 minutes of completing your run.

Within that half hour, aim to consume a snack or meal that has:

-Carbohydrates: This will help replenish your glycogen stores so you can have energy for your next workout.

-Protein: This helps repair and rebuild the muscles you've just worked.

Some good examples of after-run snacks include:

Protein shakes

A banana with peanut butter

Greek yogurt with berries

A whole grain bagel with honey

Runner-Specific Nutrition Tips

Whether you're running a 5K or training for a marathon, what you eat and drink can greatly impact your performance. That's why fueling your body with the right nutrients is important.

Here are some runner-specific nutrition tips to help you stay energized and reach your goals:

1. Eat before you run

Eating something before you run is important, especially if running for more than 30 minutes. A small snack or energy gel can give you the boost you need through your workout.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated is key for runners. Be sure to drink plenty of water, or sports drink throughout the day, even more so if you're running in hot weather. Weigh yourself before and after your run to get an idea of how much fluid you've lost during your workout.

3. Eat carbs for energy

Carbohydrates are essential for runners because they provide quick energy that our bodies can use during exercise. Good sources of carbs include bread, pasta, rice, fruits, and vegetables. Try to eat a carb-rich meal or snack about an hour before your run.


Running is a great way to stay fit and healthy, but it's important to fuel your body properly. The right nutrition plan for runners should include an adequate balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to maximize performance while minimizing fatigue.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are fueling your body how it needs to get the most out of each run. With the help of this article and a few simple adjustments to your diet, you will be well on your way to becoming an even better runner!

Remember Safety First:

Safety always comes first. Several important considerations before heading out on your run: notify someone where you’re going and when to expect you back, pack granola bars and water, and monitor changing weather conditions. Run with a friend or a group; remember safety first.


The advice given on this website does not constitute or replace medical advice.

Please consult with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition plan.

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