We’ve teamed up with Science in Sport to develop a nutrition guide specifically targeted towards runners. We want to give you all of the information that you need to get the most out of your running, whether you’re training or racing. We’ll be covering how to fuel yourself before, during and after your runs.
The contents of our support articles, such as text, videos, images, are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Check with a doctor in addition to using our support articles and before making any medical decisions.
Before your runs, you want to make sure that you’re fuelling appropriately. You should aim to take on ‘slow release’ carbs 2-4 hours before setting off. Think foods such as porridge or pasta. When you want to push yourself hard, look to top up your energy stores 30-60 minutes before with a high carb snack such as a flapjack, banana or energy bar.
As an active individual, you need to make sure you’re drinking enough water day-to-day. Aim for 2-3 litres of water per day. As well as losing water when your exercise, you also lose essential salts through sweat. Before and after longer runs or runs on particularly hot days, we recommend an electrolyte tablet or drink to account for the salts that will be lost within the run ahead.
To keep your energy levels topped up while running longer distances (over 70 minutes), take onboard additional carbohydrates as you run such as sweets or energy gels. To provide our body with optimal energy we should look to take on 30-60g of carbs per hour. Most energy gels often have around 20-25g of carbs so we recommend aiming for 2-3 per hour. The SiS 'Beta Fuel' gels have 40g per gel which means you can take on more energy with less gels, we're a big fan of these. With what ever option you go for, Experiment to see what works best for you! An easy option is to consume gels but if you find these do not work for you, then you could try chews, flapjacks, dried fruit or gummy sweets.
There is no one size fits all approach for fuelling within a run, so this is something that needs to be practiced time and time again in training. It the the well known saying that you 'do not change anything on race day', so it is vital to ensure you have your feeling down to a tee to help you get over that line.
Fuelling throughout a run is something that should be done to avoid the energy drop. Don’t leave it until you are feeling low in energy as by that point it could be too late to get the levels back up and your performance could be sacrificed. And we can’t stress it enough – practice this in training regularly and don’t leave it to race day!
Again, when running longer distances, you should take onboard water during your run. The exact amount will depend on several factors including your body and the climate. As a rule of thumb, aim for between 400ml to 800ml of water consumption per hour of running. Make sure to drink little and often to prevent bloating or stitches. On particularly hot days or extremely long runs, try to take an electrolyte tablet or drink onboard whilst you run too. The more you practice this during training, the more the body can adapt ahead of race day!
The Golden Rule when it comes to fuelling that we always live by is if you're starting to run low on energy or feeling thirsty you've left it too late!
You’ve done it! You’ve reached the end of your run and now it’s time to relax, rest and recover. Try to take onboard some protein such as a protein bar within 30 minutes of finishing your run. Alternatively, chocolate milk is a great option! Look to increase your protein intake in subsequent meals to help aid recovery.
Carbohydrates will also help replenish the energy stores you have depleted. If you're not eating your next meal for another couple of hours, then look to consumer some Carbohydrates such as a banana within 30 minutes of finishing.
Day to Day nutrition
As well as making sure you're all set pre, during and post your runs, you also want to make health-conscious food choices day-to-day to help get the most out of your running training.