What To Eat When You Start Running

When I first started running, I quickly realized the importance of fueling my body with the right foods. What I eat has a direct impact on my energy levels, endurance, and overall performance. As a beginner, it’s crucial to pay attention to what I consume before and after hitting the pavement. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the world of running nutrition.

Fueling Before a Run:

Before lacing up my running shoes, I opt for light, easily digestible meals to prevent any discomfort while running. A small bowl of oatmeal topped with a sliced banana provides a good balance of carbs for energy and potassium to prevent muscle cramps. Sometimes, I’ll have a piece of whole grain toast with a spread of nut butter for a quick and effortless pre-run fuel. Hydration is also key, so I never forget to drink a glass of water or a sports drink before heading out.

Mid-Run Nutrition:

For longer runs, especially those lasting over an hour, I bring along easily portable snacks like energy gels, chews, or a simple homemade energy bar. These provide a quick source of carbohydrates to sustain energy levels and delay fatigue. I find that consuming these mid-run snacks at regular intervals helps me maintain my pace and finish strong.

Post-Run Recovery:

After a run, my body craves replenishment. I prioritize consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing my workout to aid in muscle recovery and glycogen replenishment. A smoothie made with Greek yogurt, fruits, and a scoop of protein powder is my go-to post-run recovery drink. Alternatively, a turkey and avocado sandwich on whole grain bread also does the trick.


Staying hydrated is just as important as eating the right foods when running. I make sure to drink water throughout the day and always have a water bottle with me during runs. On hotter days or longer runs, I turn to electrolyte-enhanced drinks to maintain a proper balance of fluids and essential minerals.

What to Avoid:

When it comes to running, some foods are best left off the menu. Greasy, heavy, and high-fiber foods can cause discomfort and indigestion while running. I steer clear of these and opt for easily digestible options that won’t weigh me down or cause stomach issues during my workouts.

Remember, each runner’s nutritional needs vary, so it’s essential to experiment with different foods and timing to find what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things and listen to your body’s signals. By paying attention to my nutrition, I’ve been able to enhance my running experience and achieve my goals.


As a beginner runner, paying attention to nutrition can make a significant difference in your running journey. By fueling your body with the right foods before, during, and after runs, you can optimize your performance and enhance your overall experience. Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so it’s essential to find what suits your body best through experimentation. Happy running and happy eating!