Fitness, Fitness Tips, Food, Quick Tips, Snacks

What To Eat Before A Run

I get asked constantly what to eat just before a run. This is actually a very difficult question to answer because everyone is so different.

I know people who prefer to run on an empty stomach and those who like to eat minutes before a run. If you’re an eater the general recommendation is to eat something high in carbohydrates and moderate in fat, protein and fiber about 1-1.5 hrs before a run. The reason behind this is to provide your body with carbohydrates for energy and to avoid foods that may cause gastrointestinal distress.

…We’ve all had those fun unexpected bathroom trips mid run right?

What you eat before a run also depends on how long/ far you are planning on running. I think if you are going to be running for 60 minutes or less you really don’t need to eat anything before you run but if you’re going to be doing a long run your body will definitely needs some fuel.

Remember this too varies from person to person. I need food to even run 1 mile and my boyfriend runs half marathons without eating anything.

The bottom line is that you really have to find what works best for you. Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.

Try eating 1 hr before your next 5 mile run and see if you have more energy than usual? Get stomach cramps… maybe try eating something different or don’t eat at all.

Again, everyone is very different and it’s so important to find what works for YOU!



To help answer the very difficult question of what to eat before a run I reached out to my running community for some help. 

Here’s what they suggested to eat before running:

  • Oatmeal or a banana and tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Greek yogurt
  • Peanut butter toast
  • Oatmeal and a banana
  • Avocado/banana every time- I had to ask if he ate just a plain avocado or smashed it onto toast and he said just a whole avocado…OKAY! Super down for any excuse to eat a whole avocado!
  • Toast with a little peanut butter and half a banana if it’s a longer run. If it’s a shorter run, (7 miles or less) I don’t usually eat.
  • Usually just a banana with peanut butter to coat my stomach
  • I like to eat half an avocado and a glass of almond milk. Any more than that and I get stomach cramps
  • I like to have Vega pre workout 30 mins before and an hour before I have a green apple with almond butter
  • A banana

Not all of these follow the general guideline of being high in carbs and moderate in protein, fat and fiber but like we discussed above every single person is different.

By the way…am I the only one who is very intrigued by eating a whole avocado before a run? I may just have to try that out.



Personally I like to get full before I run. Like really full! I have no idea why and that’s why I asked other people for their opinion because I think I’m a little bit crazy.

Here’s what I eat before a run:

If I’m running 3-8 miles I like to eat a lite Perfect Bar (cranberry crunch or almond acai) or a Lara Bar about 30 minutes before I run. 

For the marathon training I’ve been doing where I’m running anywhere from 9-22 miles I ALWAYS eat a Bobo’s Oat Bar. For 15 miles or less I only eat about 3/4 of it but for my big runs you bet I’m eating all 400 calories of that delicious bar seconds before I start running.



Your turn,

What do you eat before a run/workout?

When do you eat before a run/ workout?

Any funny stories about maybe trying a new food before a workout and needing a bathroom break?



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  • Reply Sarah @ BucketListTummy June 8, 2016 at 7:23 am

    I have never heard of eating an avocado before a run – I don’t think that would fair well in my stomach. I’m pretty simple and stick to a couple dates with a slab of PB, a piece of fruit, or even a little bit of oatmeal a couple hours before running. If I’m going longer, I’ll have a huma gel with me.
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…When Your Weekend Meals Differ From Your Weekly MealsMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

      I’d never heard of it either and was shocked when 2 people suggested it. I usually like carbs over fats before running but hey I’ll try anything once.

  • Reply Amanda @ Exploring Life & Things June 8, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I’ve never heard of those oat bars! I like to keep my breakfast as simple as possible before running, so a banana and some dried fruit has been my go-to lately. I go back and forth between having coffee before a race too, sometimes I like it and sometimes I’m totally fine without it.

    • Reply Diana Becker June 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

      They’re so good! I find them at my local health food store. Oh totally TMI but I always have to have some coffee before a race…to get things moving pre run 😉

  • Reply Kristy @ Southern In Law June 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    It really is so important to find what works for you as every body is different! I know some of my friends can run on an empty stomach but I need breakfast before I can get out the door, otherwise I end up feeling like I have super low blood sugar levels!

    Those oat bars look deeeelicious!
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…A Letter from Your Token CoeliacMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 8, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      I’m like you! I feel so dizzy and strange if I don’t eat before exercising. Bobo’s Oat Bars are so good and really dense to hold you over when you’re running for a long time.

  • Reply rachel @ athletic avocado June 9, 2016 at 6:11 am

    I don’t really run but before a workout I will usually have a small piece of fruit to get something in my stomach but nothing more than that or I feel sick!
    rachel @ athletic avocado recently posted…Paleo Dark Chocolate Fudge Zucchini Brownies {GF & Vegan Option!}My Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 9, 2016 at 11:22 am

      It’s so important to know your body isn’t it? I always need a little something in my stomach.

  • Reply Ivan Jordon June 9, 2016 at 6:15 am

    I eat different foods before a run, but I always make sure they’re light…
    Ivan Jordon recently posted…Guitar Scale Mastery 12 Month MembershipMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 9, 2016 at 11:23 am

      Yes! There’s nothing worse than eating something heavy and having it just sit there in your stomach during a run.

  • Reply Megan June 9, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Oooh these all sound good! I’m so guilty of eating the same thing before almost every run… peanut butter toast. I’ve never heard of avocado before a run before! I definitely need my carbs though so not sure that it would work for me, but still sounds yummy!
    Megan recently posted…Why “racing weight” is a big load of crapMy Profile

    • Reply Diana Becker June 9, 2016 at 11:24 am

      Hey I pretty much eat the exact same thing before I run too..if it works why change it? I was shocked when so many people suggested an avocado before running..idk but maybe it’s worth a try?

  • Reply Sarah Grace Spann June 10, 2016 at 7:05 am

    Wow you’re crazy girly for liking to run full! Haha, even though I don’t run anymore, as a competitive runner in college I use to NEVER eat anything before runs (but i did eat late at night so maybe that was why), or would just eat a plain pece of toast at most! haha funny how different people do it 🙂

    Sarah Grace

  • Reply Kellen June 10, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    You weren’t kidding about the avocados? haha I think I’ll stick to my plain PB toast and a banana — no bathroom breaks for me please 🙂
    Kellen recently posted…Summer S’mores BitesMy Profile

  • Reply Corrine June 11, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Great list! Bananas and nuts for me. Nuts especially if I’m doing a longer run. Will have to try avocados next time.

  • Reply How I Prepared for a 10 Mile Race - Sweet and Strong March 31, 2017 at 3:05 am

    […] Now to the morning of.  I haven’t been drinking coffee before my long runs or even eating much besides maybe half a protein bar or a banana.  I am typically fine with running on an empty stomach, but the nerves of race day have me unsure.  Diana from Live Lean Eat Green suggested eating something high in carbs and moderate in fat, protein, and fiber if running for longer than an hour.  So since that will definitely be me, I plan to have a banana and/or toast and some nut butter and pack a small granola bar since we have a 45 minute drive into the city before the race.  Dianne has a great list of Pre Run Meals here. […]

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