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What to Eat Before a Run - Top Tips

By PW Nutritionist Grace Scott

Whether you have recently taken up running, or are a long standing veteran. Whatever your goal - be it to simply to lose weight, run further or faster - not eating enough of the right foods prior to your run could be hindering your progress! With a lot of people now turning to outdoor exercise as their choice of workout, it's important to know how to eat well to run well! Are you confused by what to eat before running? From a 5k to a full marathon, providing yourself with enough energy before you step into your running shoes is essential to get the most out of your time on the track. Keep our top tips in mind on what to eat before you run and you will be hitting those PB's in no time!

 Woman sat down resting on decking in workout clothes holding a Protein World shaker


Pre Run Food

So, what to eat before running? Before your run it’s imperative to make sure your glycogen stores are full! Glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrates in your muscles and liver, when we run it’s these stores your body uses when glucose (the readily available form of carbs) is all used up. Research suggests that the best time to consume these carbohydrates is 3-5 hours before a run so that some of the digested carbs have a chance to be converted and stored ready for you to use at a later time! Consuming a small carb snack in the hour before your run as well will also increase the delivery of glycogen from your liver to your muscles so think a piece of fruit, flapjack or even a small bowl of cereal!

Lots of carbs? This all sounds ideal right? Be careful which carbs you are choosing as not all carbohydrates are created equal. Foods that have a high glycaemic index (foods that spike your blood glucose levels quickly) are digested quicker than foods with a low glycaemic index – meaning you’ll be hungrier sooner and your energy levels will be hard to maintain. Eat smart and stick to low glycaemic index foods that will lead to stable energy, so think wholegrains over sugary donuts. For an extra boost try our Pre-Workout 20 minutes before your run, guaranteed to give you energy!

Woman sat down holding Protein World shake in workout clothes


Post Run Food

Post run fuelling is the most fun in my opinion! It's not just important to consider what to eat before running, but also what to eat afterwards too! There’s nothing I love more than coming back from a long run (or even running 5k) and cooking up a delicious brunch! For optimal recovery post run, a combination of protein and carbs is best. Protein before running is a common misconception as it is actually essential to help in muscle recovery after your run! It helps your muscles repair to prevent damage after being under continuous strain, whilst those essential carbs will replenish your glycogen stores ready for the next time you head out! Some good choices are a poached egg and avocado on toast, or a grilled chicken sandwich. If it isn't quite meal time, then opt for a nutritious snack such as a banana with peanut butter, or some greek yoghurt and fresh berries.  

It is also important to not forget to consume plenty of fluids! It’s likely you’ll be very dehydrated after a run so this will contribute to how hungry you are feeling as thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger! We recommend slowly sipping on a bottle of water after exercise - as tempting as chugging it down in one go may be, this can lead you to feeling sick and lightheaded!

30 minutes post run is the best time to consume your meal as your muscles are most receptive to replenishment. If you don’t like to eat straight after a run, try a protein shake within the 30 minute window [we recommend our Slender Blend or WPC] and eat a little later, ideally within 2 hours after completing your run. Your glycogen stores will be empty after providing energy during your run so it’s essential to replace them now! A wrap or pitta is a great option, filled with some protein ideally! Try to squeeze in a bit a vitamin c too – great for an anti-inflammatory effect after the stress on your joints! If an orange isn't your vibe, you can always try our Maximum Vitamin C capsules to keep your body topped up! 

See below for how our products can help fuel your run!


Women bent down tying her shoelace in workout clothes with Protein World shake next to her

 Food for runners!

What to eat before a run –
A bowl of Slender Porridge with fruit and a glass of orange juice


A PW Flapjack with fruit


For fasted cardio: PW IBCAA+

What to eat after a run –

A PW Slender Shake with a tuna and avocado wrap

For more information and personalised advice on fuelling your run contact our nutritionists on advice@proteinworld.com