Oct 25

What a Runner Eats #RunItWednesday

The title of this post should really be what THIS runner eats since, when it comes to eating and running, no two runners are alike in eating habits. Because of that, I will share what I eat as well as what five other highly successful and experienced runners eat, for this month’s edition of Run It Wednesday!

I did not eat that entire pizza but I probably could have. And yes, I eat pizza and french fries and ice cream and most of the other stuff you probably think I don’t. I’m careful about when I eat these kinds of foods and, before, during and after a run can be especially tricky.

Let’s start at the top!


My stomach cannot handle protein within two hours leading up to my run. How do I know this? From many, many, many miles spent suffering with an upset stomach after having peanut butter or eggs prior to heading out.

I have come to this eating routine after years of experimenting and repeatedly trying things that obviously didn’t work just because I though it was what I was “supposed” to be eating. WRONG! If you take away nothing else from this post, take this: Every runner is different. Eat whatever works for you!

Maybe you can eat a cookie bigger than your head before a run. I can’t.

Here’s a typical morning before a run workout:

5am: 8-10 oz coffee, black with two sugars

6:30/7:00am – Breakfast option one: slice of banana bread (if it’s fresh from the local store) OR two whole wheat fig bars (from the same store) with a large swath of Teddie’s Natural Smooth peanut butter and some water

Breakfast option two: steel cut oatmeal with Teddie’s Natural Peanut Butter, chia seeds and berries

Breakfast option three: Whole grain cereal that is low in fiber and protein and high in carbohydrates like Nature’s Path Qi’a Superflakes or Kashi Heart to Heart Toasted Oats and 2% organic milk

7:00am – whatever time I head out: If I’m going on a run over 8 miles I will sip on water mixed with Skratch Labs lemon + lime hydration mix

The key for me is digestion. I want at least 1 1/2 hours between eating and running.

*If I bike or swim after my run, I will have a GU, chomps or Health Warrior Chia bar, to keep me going for over an hour of training. Luckily, I can eat almost anything before a bike or swim.

My “in-between” power fuel. Health Warrior Chia Bars!


This depends so much on mileage and intensity. Anything under 10 miles for me does not warrant food or drinks unless I have barely eaten and I’m running before breakfast. That is a rarity so let’s go with this:

10-14 MILES 1.5 Hours After Breakfast

I recently purchased a new Nathan running belt (VaporKrar $59.99) that I absolutely love! It comes with a collapsable water bottle that doesn’t slosh during the run, has plenty of pockets and stays in place with zero chafing.

I tend to change up what I eat on the run because too many sweet GUs make me want to vomit. For my 14 miler (the longest run I have done in a while) I had an Espresso Love GU at 45 minutes in and then a Tri-Berry one 45 minutes later. I sipped water when needed.

It’s not rocket science but with the overwhelming amount of information out there, it can seem like it.

Also, my coach is an actual rocket scientist so maybe it kind of is.

*If I have a long bike/run session I will have a bottle of water mixed with Skratch Labs lemon + lime electrolyte mix on the bike portion. I also prefer to eat Clif Blocks energy chews on the bike instead of GUs. My current favorites are Mountain Berry and Salted Watermelon. In the winter I switch to Honey Stinger waffles. 


At this point, especially if I have been out training for over two hours, I’m short on time and starving. I keep bars in my car (if I’ve driven to a different location) so I can have immediate sustenance. I also need to eat real food before drinking coffee. I learned that the hard way.

My favorite post-run bars include:

1. VEGA Protein Peanut Butter Chocolate

2. KNOW Better Bars

3. REAL Bars

4. Clif Nut Butter Filled Bars

5. Health Warrior Vanilla Almond Chia Bar

Star wanted a bite of my KNOW Better bar. No WAY!

Once I shower and can eat some real food, my top choices are eggs with veggies and whole grain toast, turkey burger and sweet potato, spinach with veggies and a scoop of chicken salad on top, shrimp fajitas with avocado, cheese and tomato and the list can go on and on and on.

Actually, this list will go on.

Check out what these super fit runners eat and see if you like those choices better…









Now go eat something!



What do you eat before a workout?

What is your favorite post run/workout meal?


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  1. We have the health warrior Chia bars in common! I totally agree. It took me to forever to figure out what worked and honestly I’m still tweaking!! I learned about some new and awesome products today too!

  2. I completely agree – Every runner is different. No one way works for all!
    Angela @ happy fit mama recently posted…What a Runner EatsMy Profile

  3. I was TERRIFIED of Gus and gels when I started running, and I still stay away from them. The flavor is just too much!
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…To The Finish Line (Review + Giveaway + Final Running Coaches Corner)My Profile

    • Jen on October 25, 2017 at 7:51 AM
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    I absolutely love beets and have now discovered that if I eat them more than two hours before my run, I feel great during and after. Immediately after my run I enjoy about 8-12 oz of chocolate milk (my little “reward” to myself). The Gus and gels are tough on my stomach, but the Stinger chews seem to be okay during my run.

    How is the new fuel belt? No bottle leakage? I’ve been looking all over for something that won’t ride up and a bottle that won’t slosh. That might do the trick.

    1. I wish I could like beets but I can only add them as a powder into water. I sometimes drink Beet Boost as a recovery drink but otherwise? I hate them. Totally sucks because they are SO good for you.

      The belt is awesome and there has been no leakage from the bottle. I will say I only fill it about halfway since my longest runs have been 14 miles in cooler temps. Not sure if that will make a difference but I don’t see how.

        • Jen on October 25, 2017 at 3:41 PM
        • Reply

        Good to know about the belt. I’ll get one on order. Nothing I hate more than carrying a bottle with the sloshing…ugh.

  4. Yes, you definitely have to find what works for you! For me protein is a necessary. I could definitely devour that whole pizza after a giant brick workout. So happy to be in this link up with you all 🙂

  5. I wish I had not seen that $60 belt…. I run best on an empty stomach after half a cup of black coffee for any run up to an hour… over an hour run, I need to eat something before and it changes everything..
    Paria@momontherunsanity.com recently posted…FarewellMy Profile

    1. You need the belt! In fact, you need it just walking around lately with those insane temps you’ve been having. Stay hydrated my friend!

  6. I almost always have some combo of banana and pb before a run- on toast or in oatmeal before a long run/race. Post run, it’s usually breakfast… yogurt/muesli, eggs in a wrap, etc. I love reading what other runners eat!
    Laura recently posted…My Runner’s World Festival Experience + RacesMy Profile

  7. Every runner is different and I find what other runners eat so interesting. I can’t eat much protein and nothing dairy before a run, so I stick with bananas and Honey Stinger waffles, maybe a tiny bit of PB. After my run, it’s oatmeal or, if I don’t think I can get that down after a long run, a bagel.
    I like that belt. I haven’t found a good hydration belt that doesn’t bother my endo (which has some, ahem, negative effects on my GI system) but that one looks so comfortable. I really liked the last Nathan belt I had, but to keep it from sloshing/bouncing I had to tighten it too much, which caused pelvic pain/GI upset. Does it feel tight at all?
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…What Runners Eat {Run It}My Profile

    1. The belt truly is comfortable but I haven’t used it over 14 miles. Things usually start to bug the hell out of me once I hit 18 miles!! But honestly, I hardly knew the pack was even there. It was the most comfortable one I’ve ever had and I didn’t even have to adjust the straps (which is super easy to do while running) the entire time. I highly recommend it for comfort and space!

    • danielle on October 25, 2017 at 4:58 PM
    • Reply

    I struggle with this one constantly because I do my runs so early that I’m not able to eat before them.. Yes, I choose that extra half hour to sleep and warmup over food since I’m not hungry. Maybe I’ll get it down one day 🙂 but I do drink a bit of water and maybe coffee before hand. Afterwards it’s a mad dash to shower before the tiny tot gets up but I do manage to munch down some toast or whatever I’m making her so at least I get fed. Ideally I like some pancake something or fruit after a long run, then something really salty and hearty later on. I take a gel or 2 on runs over 10 miles, they have worked for me so I feel it’s not worth stopping to see if anything else is better or worse. I’m excited to see what others eat – I know oatmeal is popular and wish I liked it more… it looks so pretty but it doesn’t sit well in my stomach. This morning I had some really good potato and egg hash that I made us after my run, but I ate it because my daughter wanted to play. No complaints from me I was hungry!

  8. I am the same way – cannot eat eggs before a race!! I made the mistake of eating eggs before my last marathon (total ridiculous rookie move as I hadn’t done that before) and felt realllly off in the gut dept. the first half.
    Give me all the eggs afterwards! I keep it simple with toast and almond butter or energy bar + banana before.
    Great topic!!
    Natalie recently posted…Ventura Half Marathon Race Recap – NEW PR: 1:27:43!!!My Profile

  9. I was always the same way with running. If I ate or drank much right before a run, I’d cramp up like crazy. I wouldn’t even take water unless I was going more than 10 miles.
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Gluten-Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad + WIAWMy Profile

  10. The day before the race I like to eat chia salad, linseed, kiwi and mango. And I can tell you that it gives me the courage to wake up that’s great. Especially when I run early in the morning. It is excellent!

  11. It really is so personal! One of the hardest parts of coaching is figuring out what foods are going to work best for people! Great ideas here!

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