Running Foods – Eating Energy Foods for Running the Right Way

A man running along a shore in the sunset with the caption "Eating Energy Foods for Running the Right Way."

Runners must not only take the time to stretch and limber up their muscles, but they should also pop a bite of something delicious into their mouths before they run. Your body needs food to burn for energy as you run, and those energy foods for running eaten prior to taking off for a run will help to keep your muscles pumping, your lungs working, your heart beating, and your fat burning! But what should you eat? Here is a list of the most nutritious foods for runners.

Running Foods: Before You Run

Before you head out on your run, it’s important to take time to fuel your body with the right running foods. Giving your body the right fuel before your run is important, so here are some foods you can use to fuel up:

Bananas

Bananas are filled with natural sugar, which your body will burn for energy. They also contain lots of potassium, a nutrient that keeps your blood pumping properly, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stroke risk.

Berries

Want a quick energy boost? Berries are like little balls of healthy sugar, and they contain lots of Vitamin C to keep your body working at top speed. The potassium and Vitamin C in the berries will help your muscles repair themselves as you run.

Two bagel slices with peanut butter topping next to a jar of peanut butter and a butterknife.
Peanut butter bagels will give you tons of energy to go for a run.

Bagels

Bagels are much heavier and richer in carbs than your average slice of bread, so they’ll give you a lot more energy to burn. If you layer half a bagel with cream cheese or peanut butter, you’ll be getting just enough protein to keep your muscles fueled and working well.

Low Fat Yogurt

Low fat yogurt is rich in calcium, protein, and carbs. The calcium will help to promote healthy fat burning, the protein will provide the fuel for your muscles, and the carbs will give you the energy you need. Yogurt is an excellent energy food for sprinting, running, jogging, or even walking.

Note: Don’t eat too much before running, as that can give you a cramp or cause indigestion. Just eat a light snack to have enough energy to run.

Running Foods: During Your Run

As your feet are pounding the pavement, you may find that you’re lacking in energy to keep running. Here are some foods to eat during your run, foods to keep your energy levels high:

Starbursts

These little candies are soft and easy to chew while you run, and the sugar you get from them can keep you going.

Energy Gels

Most sports drink companies have made energy gels, small packets that you can suck down while on the run. They’re a great source of energy, so have one handy if you feel tired.

Raisins

Raisins contain lots of sugar, which is exactly what you need to keep you going when your energy reserves are low. Just a small handful can make a difference!

Running Foods: Recovery Foods

Once you’ve finished your run, you have to replenish all of the nutrients that have been eliminated via your sweat. Check out this list of the best running recovery foods:

Oats

Oats are rich in carbs, but they also have fiber and protein. There are few carb sources better than oats, as oats don’t affect your blood sugar levels as much. Add some fruit into a bowl of oats, pour in some milk, and enjoy your recovery snack.

Chicken Breast

There’s nothing like a good chicken breast to give you some healthy, lean protein. Chicken breast has very little fat, but it’s loaded with the nutrient your body needs to repair your muscles. It’s quick and easy to prepare, and anyone can make chicken breast delicious!

A hummus-based dish with sauce and other ingredients
Hummus is a great after run food idea.

Hummus

Hummus is made with chick peas, which are primarily fiber and protein. It will help you to fill up after your run, and the protein will promote healthy repair of your muscles. Make sure to prepare hummus without garlic, and avoid eating it before you run.

Fruit

Fruit are sweet, refreshing food, one that will help you restock your body’s energy supply after a hard run. Oranges and apples are your two best choices, as oranges are rich in Vitamin C while apples contain lots of fiber and minerals that your body needs after sweating for so long.

An Important Reminder About Running Foods…

If you’re only going to run for 30 to 45 minutes, it’s not necessary to eat food first. Your body has enough energy to last that long, as it taps into its fat stores. If you are going to run or work out for more than an hour, it’s a good idea to eat something before you get to work. Eating these foods will help to keep your body fueled with enough energy to keep you going, and will prevent you from getting dehydrated or sweating all of your nutrients out through your pores.

Here’s a video showing what to avoid before running.

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