What to Eat Before Running

Just as you need to consider which items to bring on a run, such as your silicone medical ID bracelet, earbuds and water bottle, it is also essential to contemplate your pre-run meals.

For runners, nutrition is not only critical to maintaining their health, it is an essential component to achieving peak performance. The reality is that unhealthy foods affect running performance in a myriad of ways, so picking the foods is a constant necessity.

However, many new runners are not privy to which foods will serve them best before a run.

Today, we seek to change that by covering five great pre-run foods.

Let’s get started.

What to Eat Before a Run

While there are tons of potential snacks that you could consume before your run, some of our favorites include:

1. Bananas

Bananas are well-known for being an excellent source of quick-burning carbohydrates. Plus, they are great to eat before a run as they are easy to digest and quite portable.

Additionally, bananas are rich in potassium, which is an essential electrolyte. Since the nutrients contained in bananas can be used by the body quickly, having one shortly before your run is likely to serve you well.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another top pre-run food pick as it is another fantastic source of carbs. However, the carbs gained from oatmeal burn much slower than those from bananas, so you might want to throw in one of those or some raisins to mix in a fast-burning carbohydrate. Such a combination will give you long-lasting energy for an extended run.

However, be aware that you shouldn’t include too many high-fiber add-ons like berries and nuts as this could end up causing stomach discomfort during your run.

3. A Smoothie

A great way to speed up digestion of the foods you choose to consume pre-run is to blend them into a smoothie.


Smoothies are also great for the versatility they offer, allowing you to make fruit smoothies, veggie smoothies or a combination of the two. Additionally, you can add in things like MCT oil, protein powder, electrolyte powder and other helpful ingredients, thereby helping you hydrate while giving you the carbs you need to fuel up for the run.

4. Yogurt

Much like smoothies, yogurt is a simple snack that is easy to digest before a run. Moreover, yogurt is high in carbs and water, making it an excellent choice for hydrating before hitting the pavement.

Additionally, for those who live with diabetes, a low-fat Greek yogurt and berries with a side of toast and nut butter is an excellent way to ensure that your blood sugar is at the appropriate level, while also giving you the carbs and protein needed for the run.

That said, if you do live with a medical condition, it is vital that you get a medical alert necklace or other piece of medical jewelry to wear on your run should anything happen.

5. Toast with Nut Butter

Even if you don’t have diabetes, some whole grain toast and nut butter of your choosing is a fantastic pre-run snack that will fuel you up and keep you satiated until your post-workout meal.

Additionally, since there are a cornucopia of nut butters out there, you can find one that suits your diet and taste buds.

6. Honey

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, honey can be a good pre-run food all on its own or combined with any of the previously mentioned options. Since honey is easily digested and absorbed more quickly than other forms of sugar, it won’t sit in your stomach long, which makes it a perfect pre-run snack addition.

However, just as important as what to eat before a run is when to eat.

When to Eat Before a Run

When getting ready for your run, it is best to eat about two hours before hitting the pavement and keeping the meal to around 300 to 400 calories. Even if you are going to be going for longer, it is better to have another light snack mid-run than to eat too much beforehand.

That said, the exact amount that you eat will vary depending on your body and workout plan.

Additionally, if you have already consumed a larger meal for the day, it is wise to wait for up to four hours before heading out. Otherwise, you could end up facing some mid-run stomach discomfort.


Therefore, it is highly advisable to build your eating schedule around your workout routine so as to avoid any such scenario.

Getting the Pre-Run Fuel You Need

You don’t need to starve yourself before your run. In fact, getting the fuel you need is critical to optimizing your performance.

All of the foods listed above will provide you with the nutrients needed to get out there and have a great run. Mix and match them to find a winning combination for your lifestyle.