Eating and Running

What should I eat before, during, and after a run?  This is the question I get most often.  The question is not easy to answer since our bodies are all different and our stomachs react differently to different foods.  So, most people find out what works best for them by experimenting.  The results are not always fun since the wrong food choice can result in stomach distress and races to the bathroom.  On the other hand, when you find the right combination for you, the result can be your best race or workout ever!

Here are some suggestions for your next long run.

What to eat and drink BEFORE a workout or race

  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Try to eat the same food consistently before each long training run, and try to eat this food 1-hour before your long runs
  • On race day, eat at the same time before your competition and the same foods that you’ve consistently been eating before workouts

A Few Foods to Try

  • Banana
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Baked potato
  • Whole-grain bagel
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

What to eat and drink DURING a workout or race

  • Find out what brand of electrolyte drink or gel the race will have at the aid stations and train with this brand to make sure it does not cause your stomach any distress
  • When you are running consistently for over 1-hour, you will need to replenish your water and electrolytes every 15-minutes or 2 miles, whichever comes first

A Few Foods to Try While Running (Try before race day!)

  • Water
  • Energy gel
  • Energy drink
  • Honey
  • Raisins
  • Energy bars

What to eat and drink AFTER a workout or race

  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Eat something nutritious within 1 hour after a workout: fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein

A Few Foods to Try

  • Chocolate milk
  • Eggs
  • Baby carrots dipped in yogurt
  • Banana
  • Whole-grain muffin
  • Orange
  • Apple slices dipped in peanut butter

What to eat and drink EVERY DAY

  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Every day, eat meals high in carbohydrates to fuel and refuel your muscles
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and 2 snacks each day

Nutrition Books for Runners

  • Encyclopedia of Sports Nutrition: The Ultimate Guide for Peak Performance by Liz Applegate, PhD
  • Nancy Clark’s Food Guide for Marathoners
  • Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook  *This book is my favorite!Here’s to finding your perfect food combination for your best performance!

Your Partner in Health,

Carol Frazey, M.S.

About Carol Frazey

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