What To Eat Before Running? 10 Foods To Give You Instant Energy

To have a proper running session it is important that your body feels good and energized. The question – ‘What to eat before running?’ if answered correctly can make or break your run.

Your body needs proper diet and nutrition to kick some butt during your workout routine. 

A balanced pre-run meal is very important to fuel your run. As a runner, if you do not take care of what you eat, you may feel weak or dizzy or get stomach cramps. You must not go out for running on an empty stomach or full stomach, as both are harmful to your health.

What To Eat Before Running?

A light meal at least one and a half hour before running is necessary. It must include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The pre-meal should be rich in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, low in fats and nutrients. Also, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.

You must avoid high-fiber foods and high-fat foods before running. They are difficult to digest and can cause bloating, diarrhea, and other stomach problems.

Depending on your running time and speed, you must choose the right amount of nutrition. Apart from that, you can always have a pre-run snack 15-20 min before running and an intra-run snack if you have a longer running time.

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10 Foods To Eat Before Running for Instant Energy

Here are some pre-run snack ideas to keep you energized.

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a healthy option for the pre-run snack. It has a good amount of proteins, carbs, healthy fats, and Vitamin E. This keeps your blood sugar level steady and you will not feel hungry anytime soon. The unsaturated fats in peanut butter give you long-lasting energy which is quite important while running.

Simply enjoy 1 spoon of peanut butter on whole-wheat bread. You can even add pieces of bananas on it to make your meals healthier. Apple slices with peanut butter is also a great source of proteins and fats.

2. Yogurt or Greek Yogurt 

A perfect pre-run snack is a yogurt. Eat a small bowl of yogurt or greek yogurt at least 15 min before going out for a run. Greek yogurt contains extra proteins, less sugar and tastes better than normal yogurt. But with normal yogurt, you get at least twice more calcium which helps in bone-strengthening.

It also contains essential amino acids which protect your muscles and jump-start its recovery. The good lactic acid bacteria present in the yogurt improves digestion and boosts your immune system. 

3. Baked Potatoes with Cottage Cheese

Potatoes are a perfect source of carbohydrates and potassium. Baked potatoes give you complex carbohydrates which increase the energy level of your body. Whereas, cottage cheese contains calcium and proteins which is very good for runners.

Baked potatoes with cottage cheese form a healthy and tasty pre-run meal for a runner. But it is suggested to have this meal at least 2-3 hours before exercising.

4. Bananas


Bananas are high in carbs and potassium. When you run for a long time you sweat a lot and lose all the necessary minerals. It helps you get back all the valuable minerals, vitamin B6, carbs, and potassium which boosts your energy. 

The carbs in bananas are easy to digest and thus it’s a safe pre-run food. Having a banana before a run will not cause you any gastrointestinal issues.

5. Smoothies

When you are late and don’t have much time to make yourself a pre-run meal you can easily make a smoothie. It consists of all the ingredients like berries, yogurt, nuts, etc. which provides you with proteins, complex carbohydrates, and necessary nutrients that will help in rebuilding the muscles.

So, when you are not quite hungry, smoothies will recharge your body and keep you hydrated. This means you can go for a long run without upsetting your stomach or getting tired.

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6. Oats

Oats are an ideal pre-workout meal. Oatmeal has a low glycemic index which maintains the sugar level of your body. It also contains complex carbohydrates, Vitamin B, and high soluble fiber which is incredibly beneficial for running and workout.

If you do not like eating plain oatmeal have it with a banana or honey or fat-free yogurt. A bowl of oats provides your body with a steady stream of energy and enhances your performance.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are not only delicious but also provide you with important carbohydrates which are necessary for running. Along with it you also get potassium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and antioxidants which strengthens your bones and improves the body’s defense system.

They are a better choice than any other carb foods as it’s complex carbohydrates are slowly released which fuels up your body and improves your performance. 

8. Energy and Protein Bars

Protein bar and energy bar are two different things. Energy bar provides you with a high amount of calories which will give you the energy you need for running. But it is important to choose the right energy bar otherwise you may end up getting sugar, oil, and unnecessary stuff in your body. 

Protein bars, on the other hand, has carbohydrates, protein, and some fats which will not only boost your energy but can also be used as a meal replacement. It is better if you have a protein bar post your workout session.

9. Coffee

If your stomach can handle, have a cup of coffee. But it is important to have it without sugar and coffee. Espresso is a perfect drink to have before you running session as it will boost your energy and you can perform better. It also increases your metabolism. But do not drink it before a marathon, as coffee can make you wanna pee quite often.

10. Whole-Grain pasta

As mentioned before, runners need a high amount of carbs before running. And we all know that pasta is rich in carbohydrates. Whole-grain pasta is anytime better than the white pasta as they are less processed and you get all the healthy nutrition found in grains.

They also provide you with Vitamin B and fill up all the glycogen needs which help in building muscles. It also offers slow-burning energy which is perfect for marathon runners.

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