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Smart Nutrition Tips for Runners

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Fuel your run with the nutrients you need to go the distance.

Keep your mojo running high with these smart eating strategies from Lauren Antonucci, RD, director of Nutrition Energy in New York City.

Before You Exercise

Skip the snack if you're running for less than an hour. "If you really need a boost, have 100 calories of mostly carbs, like a couple of handfuls of whole-grain cereal," she says. "Otherwise, drink 8 to 12 ounces of water or a low-cal sports drink and go." If running longer, eat a combo of protein and carbs, like toast with peanut butter and banana (200 to 300 calories), about an hour beforehand.

During Your Run

Gulp 6 to 8 ounces of H2O or other fluids every 15 minutes to stay hydrated. If running over an hour, your body wants more than water. "Sports drinks give you the electrolytes, fluids, and sugar-filled carbs you need," Antonucci says. Energy gels can also provide a surge.

When You're Done

"Eat within 30 minutes post-workout, when your muscles replace their power supply fastest," she says. Grab an 8- to 12-ounce glass of chocolate milk or a combo of mostly carbs (75 to 80 percent) with some protein (20 to 25 percent).

All Day Long

You don't need to bulk up on bagels now that you're training, Antonucci says. Aim to get about 60 percent of your diet from carbs, 20 percent from lean proteins, and 20 percent from fat.

More Nutrition for Runners

BONUS: Sign up for our 8-week half-marathon training course to get workouts, nutrition info, and motivation tips sent straight to your inbox.


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.


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d-colbert1 wrote:

Thank for the information I did 12 miles this weekend and sort of flatlined after 10 miles. I had plenty of water but no clories. I know now to pack a little something extra.

9/20/2010 11:37:54 AM Report Abuse
hamestka wrote:

i agree with the pre-run handful of cereal for a 30 minute work out. After a run, I usually like cold water and bread. Is that bad?

5/10/2010 01:13:38 PM Report Abuse
arwessinger wrote:

this is great and all, but usually when i'm out for a run....the last thing i want is to carry extra weight, such as water bottle or sports drink.

5/9/2010 07:37:36 AM Report Abuse
4petesake1 wrote:

Food item ideas would be helpful (other that bread and peanut butter)

5/5/2010 11:24:56 PM Report Abuse

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