Pre Run Fuel

What do you eat before a run? Or should I ask, do you eat anything before you run? It’s different for everyone and can depend on many factors such as how far you are running, feelings of hunger, the sensitivity of your stomach, etc. Even still, what works for you at one point in your life may completely change.


For some people, eating anything can seem daunting and impossible. While others can tolerate almost anything. Dairy and fructose (the sugar found in fruit) are the usual suspects of GI distress (use your imagination).

Don’t know where to start? Here are some recommendations:

  • Start with refined grains. Yes you heard me right. Whole grains take longer to digest and when exercising you went energy (aka carbohydrates) ASAP!
    • Wheat bread (maybe save the whole wheat for another day)
    • Jam (yes it has fructose from the fruit, but more glucose from the sugar)
  • Add some protein or fat. This will give your meal some staying power and dull the spike in blood sugar so that you don’t crash later on.
    • Peanut butter! You get protein and fat…and it’s delicious.

Once you find something that works (and this may take some time) stick with it. Over time you may have to experiment again if you notice any GI upset.


Today I put off my run until the afternoon because I had plans to study with Molly at a coffee shop at 9am. Therefore, I had overnight oats for breakfast instead of my usual pre-run toast. For lunch I had leftover pizza and a few pieces of chocolate. Knowing that I would need to run soon since the clouds were coming in I ate one of my homemade granola bars. I have a fear of being hungry while out on a run, especially a hard run. unfortunately, the clouds came in rather quickly and so I changed quickly and headed out the door trying to beat the storm. Well, I certainly did not beat the storm. It was pretty eerie actually. The wind was super intense and then the rain came down aggressively for a bit. I got drenched. A few tempo miles in and I was determined to cut my run short and just run home. But on my way back home the rain stopped and the sun came back out so I changed my mind and kept going. The unfortunate thing is that running from the rain threw off my stride leading to a few aches and pains. Additionally, that granola bar did not have time to digest and I had some GI distress. I survived and made it through my run, but it was challenging for sure.

The calm after the storm.

Tempo mile 1: 7:49

Tempo mile 2: 8:12 (included a hill)

Tempo mile 3: 7:45

Tempo mile 4: 7:55

It wasn’t a progressive tempo, but I got it done. Six miles with an average pace of 8:19. I hope Julie can run my tempo with me next week! Our half marathon is exactly one month from today.

It reminded me the importance of fueling my body for performance. In the future I am going to do better about choosing foods that will not upset my stomach, however, like I said it is trial and error. Tomorrow I am taking the day off of running, though, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Enjoying cut back week.



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