Believe it or not, most of the people in my life don’t run. People often assume I come from a family of fitness fanatics and runners, or that I hang in a pack of mile chasers, but that is NOT the case. Running for me has always been a solo venture. I have some friends who run, and I will occasionally join them on a jog, but with everyone at different paces with different goals, my running community I’ve built on Instagram has truly become my virtual friend group of runners. Which I LOVE. You guys are the best!
With the people around me not being runners, I often hear “you can eat whatever you want” “oh you’ll just burn it off anyway” — or just a misconception that I run as part of a diet. Not true.
For me food is fuel. I LOVE to eat, it’s probably my favorite hobby after being active and running. I have been deemed the snack queen. However, the food I eat is always clean, healthy,and serves my body to perform. With two broken bones in less than two years, I took an even closer look at my diet, and added some essential nutrients I was missing. I added back dairy (post run) – I drink milk daily! and I upped my calcium vitamins. I take Biotin, Multi Vitamin, Magnesium, and Calcium every day.
I’m not a doctor, and diet is different for everyone, but here are the foods that work best for me, pre, during, and post running. I will also spill a few of my indulgences.
This really depends on the distance. For shorter normal runs, I might grab a handful of dried cereal, or just some water and go. For anything above 9 miles, I like to fuel. I eat 30 minutes before running if possible.
- 3/4 Cup Dried Cereal (I like Barbara’s Oat Crunch!)
- 1/2 Banana
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Dried Cereal or 1 Piece of Wheat Toast
- 1 Banana
- 1 Cup Water
- Things I avoid Pre-Run
- Dairy! Guaranteed stomach cramps for me. Save it for post run recovery food!
meat, or any dense protein
- Sugary Sports Drinks (Doesn’t work for me, but everyone is different!)
I personally hate carrying anything with me on my runs, it weighs me down and can just be bothersome. I also have a sensitive stomach, so a lot of products don’t sit well with me while I’m running. However I have found some ways around my sensitive stomach that have worked for me so far!
- These runs, I tend not to fuel. If it is a hot day I will definitely drink water
- Always manage your fuel for the temperatures and climate you are running in
- Water at miles 15 and 18 (Anything earlier and I will have to pee!)
- Gatorade endurance chews (Chews in general work the best for me)
- Nuun (lemon lime is my jam!)
- Swedish Fish (I know its weird!) I keep them in a plastic bag in my belt
Things I (personally) avoid During Long Runs
- I have found out (through testing) that I am not a gel person. It causes a lot of upset in my stomach, and I spend the rest of the run super uncomfortable.
- They work really well for a lot of people, so DEFINITELY give them a try to find out what works for you
Post Run meals are probably the most important. I always try to eat protein and drink a lot of water as soon as possible.
- (1) Hard Boiled Egg
- 3/4 Cup of 1% Milk
- Water with Lemon (This is my go-to for every run! I love tart anything)
- 1/2 Banana (The second half from before my run sometimes)
9-15 MilesMilkshake! I LOVE milk shakes
- Milkshake ingredients: 1/2 Cup 1% Milk, 1/2 Banana, 1/2 tsp Vanilla
15- 20+ Miles
- Eggs or Milkshake
- Replacing the salt in your bod post long runs is important, I like to munch on:
- Pretzels (Trader Joe’s makes so make delish whole grain kinds)
- Sports Drink with added sodium and electrolytes
- You need a good balance/combination of carbohydrates and protein, find what works for you!
I eat a very clean diet. Most of my diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein. I definitely like to indulge here and there, but I’ve never been one to eat fast food, fried food, or overly processed foods. I try to think about the foods I’m putting in my body at every meal and ask myself, is this natural? Will this fuel my body? Am I going to feel good after eating this? I keep my alcohol intake to 1-2 Glasses of wine, and only on Friday and Saturday nights. Of course there are those celebratory occasions to indulge which is OK! Live life to the fullest, just make sure it is your best life, that serves you being happy and performing your best in energy and health.
- Green Grapes (Literally my favorite food!)
- Sliced Zucchini or Mushrooms and Hummus
- Mixed fruit – People are afraid of fruit, because of sugar. I eat BOAT LOADS of fruit.
- Hard Boiled Eggs or Sliced Turkey/Chicken
- Tuna with Celery (no mayo, sub for greek yogurt or dijon mustard)
- Baked Sweet Potato dusted with spices
- Pea Soup – I’m so weird
- Non-Fat Greek Yogurt with Apples and Cinnamon
- White Wine (Sauv Blanc is my FAV)
- Dark Chocolate (The darker the better!!)
- I also love white chocolate
- Banana Nice-Cream (Frozen Bananas thrown in the blender) Top with shaved coconut!
- Dried Coconut (SO GOOD)
- I love a good hearty burger, but I have to earn it 🙂
In general, what fuels my body is different than what fuels yours. What’s important is to not skimp on the calories you need to fuel your body. Eating the right foods will keep you lean and performing at your best while also staying full. Some great recipe books are Eat Fast Run Slow, and The Feed Zone. Don’t stress the calories so much, think about how the food makes you feel, and don’t forget to live a little!