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What to Eat Before Your Run

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Posted on September 06 2018

Running Meals

While you should never run on an empty stomach, at the same time, fueling up the wrong way can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) issues while running. Keeping reading to learn what to eat before your run.

Timing is Key

The type of fuel you need will depend on a few factors:

  1. The time of your last meal - you won’t need a pre-run snack if you’re still digesting a meal.

  2. The amount of time you have before your run - for example, if you’re short on time, then you’ll need a small serving of easily digestible carbs such as two dried dates.

  3. Duration and intensity of your run - the longer and more challenging the run, the more fuel you’ll need (and time to digest).


2 hours before

If you have time to spare, then choose a 300- to 400-calorie meal with carbs, protein and healthy fats. Options include: Greek yogurt with fruit and granola; cereal with almond milk; oatmeal with bananas and chopped nuts or avocado toast.

1 hour before

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “pre-run snacks boost blood glucose levels, and can top off muscle carbohydrate stores — essential fuel for longer, harder runs.”

If you’ve got 60 minutes to spare, then choose a 150-calorie snack with easily digestible carbs and a little protein such as a banana with a handful of nuts; hummus and carrots or homemade chia pudding topped with fresh fruit.

15 to 30 minutes before

Short on time? Be sure to fuel up with a small serving of easily digestible carbs, like a no-sugar-added serving of applesauce, oranges or a few saltine crackers.

Foods to Avoid Pre-Run

In general, stay away from foods that are hard to digest or which will lead to stomach sensitivity issues while running. These include:

  • Beans - Eating high-fiber foods such as beans or grains before a run is a no-no because it often leads to digestive issues e.g. diarrhea. We recommend eliminating any high-fiber foods well in advance of your next run.

  • Dairy - According to Today.com, “Milk, cheese, and ice cream can trigger stomach pain because they contain lactose, a sugar that's hard for some people to digest.” Eliminating milk 24 hours before your run -- or choosing alternatives such as almond or rice milk -- will help you to avoid these effects.

  • Fatty Foods - Fat sits in your stomach and takes longer to digest, making you feel uncomfortable during a run.

  • Refined Sugar - Sugary foods are full of empty calories which can lead to headaches and fatigue during your run.

  • Spicy Foods - As tempting as a bowl of chili may sound before a run, we recommend saving it for later since spicy foods often result in heartburn.

Hopefully, the above tips will help you to feel more confident when choosing the best foods to fuel your runs.

Now, we’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite snack or meal to eat before a run? Let us know in the comments below or join our community on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to use #crazycompression