Food Before and After a Run

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Furniss | 1 comment

The hardest bit has already been completed, getting up off of your sofa and getting outside. You may be training for a certain goal or race you have coming up in the future or just running for the enjoyment, whichever it is, the food that you eat before and after your run is vitally important. For example, you wouldn’t want to go on a run after you’ve just had a heavy breakfast or lunch, as your digestive system will still be trying to do its job. Below are a few tips in what you can eat before and after your workout.


If you are planning on going on a long run you need to be eating carbohydrates. Carbohydrates increase the glycogen levels in your muscles enabling you to run for longer. A few good examples of foods high in carbohydrates are pasta, potatoes and rice. Ideally, you should be leaving a two and a half hour gap between eating and starting your run, however this is dependent on your meal size. For example, you don’t need to leave a long gap between eating a salad and going on a run, whereas a Sunday roast with all the trimmings requires a much longer break.


If you have already eaten and decide to go on a spur of the moment run, then foods such as bananas and flapjacks are a great source of quick release energy. Try to avoid caffeine as this may wake you up in the morning but doesn’t provide the energy your body needs for physical exercise. Bananas and flapjack have a high glycaemic index score. This means that they are broken down and digested quickly into glucose which provides good levels of energy. These types of food are also very useful if you run in the mornings but don’t wake up early enough to have breakfast before you shake a leg. If you do wake up in enough time to have a full breakfast meal then food such as porridge, eggs and toast are a great source of carbohydrates to provide energy for your mid-morning run.


After completing your run, you need to recover by eating foods high in protein. Chicken is a winner, going back to basics I would recommend chicken and rice. I’d always grill the chicken, however, if you don’t want to cook it like that then boiling the chicken is another healthy way of cooking it. An alternate option for food post run is eggs – boiled, scrambled, poached or whisked into an omelette are all healthy ways of getting that protein fix. Food should be consumed within the first half an hour to an hour of you completing your run as this enables the nutrients to help repair your body after its workout. Eating healthily is just as important as the exercise you do. Diet and exercise should sync with one another, yet a barrier that some people may find to fulfilling this is the time behind the preparation – make bulk meals and snacks in advance to overcome this, preparation is key!


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1 Comment

  1. Jan Rush

    October 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I recently purchased a book called “Training Food” by Renee McGregor who is a proper sports nutritionist and distance runner. I heartily recommend it as it has lots of great advice and recipes in it.

    I find that her breakfast smoothie (Oats, greek yogurt & milk blended together) is excellent before a long run and her recovery smoothie (fruit juice & greek yogurt blended together) is a quick & easy refuel after a run.

    All her recipes are very down to earth, have full nutrition facts and are dead easy to make and the book has loads of good information about how to fuel depending on what you are doing (short fast, long slow etc) and covers sports other than running (swimming, cycling)

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