By Kirstie Linza, MS Dietetic Intern and Ashley Acornley, MS, RD, LDN

What are you running on? Trails? Roads? Treadmills? Most importantly, are you running on the proper nutrition?

Whether you are going for a long run or short jog, it is important to supply your body with the proper and adequate nutrition to keep you running! It is also important to eat at certain times surrounding your runs to keep your body charged and replenished. Eating the appropriate nutrients and timing your meals around your run is a powerful recipe that will positively impact your body’s energy and recovery.

Many runners prefer getting out early for a morning run. In fact, most running races are held in the early mornings. It is crucial to get in some healthy carbohydrates prior to your run that will provide sufficient energy throughout your race. Ideally, you should eat 1 to 3 hours prior to a run. Eating too close to your run may cause stomach discomfort when your body trying to digest, while using muscles that are low on energy. Therefore, it is essential to eat far enough ahead of time and choose the right foods that settle your stomach. Choosing the right food to fuel your morning runs means something different to each person. Here are some carbohydrate-rich options to try for pre-run meals:

Pre-run meals:

  • Oatmeal with low-fat milk and fruit
  • Apple or banana with nut butter
  • Peanut butter and jelly toast
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Smoothie
  • Baked oatmeal bars
  • Rice and beans whole grain wrap

The best snack to replenish your body after a run is a carbohydrate and protein combo. Your body will use carbohydrates to replenish the drained glycogen (energy) stores, while the protein makes specific amino acids available to repair and rebuild muscles broken down during your run. Strive for a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio snack within 15 to 20 minutes after finishing your run. Some delicious and replenishing post-run snack ideas include:

Post-run snacks:

  • Low-fat chocolate milk
  • Smoothie (fruit and low-fat milk)
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Oatmeal with bananas
  • Fruit and almonds
  • Sports bars

Remember, long distance and more vigorous runners will need a more intensive pre- and post-run foods than shorter distance runners or joggers.

Baked Oatmeal Bars recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter (divided in half)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen preferred berries/fruit (divided in half)
  • Optional toppings: plain yogurt, fruit, nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, honey, eggs, half of the melted butter, and vanilla.
  5. Arrange half of the berries evenly along the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the fruit with the dry oat mixture, and then drizzle the wet ingredients evenly over the oats.
  6. Gently shake the dish so the wet ingredients move down through the oats.
  7. Scatter the remaining berries/fruit evenly over the top of the mixture.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove the baked oatmeal from oven and let cool. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top before serving. Enjoy!

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Ashley Acornle, MS, RD, LDN is sports dietitian at Triangle Nutrition Therapy, Inc. She has an undergraduate degree in  Kinesiology and a Masters degree in nutrition. In addition to being a Sports Dietitian, she is also a Personal Trainer.  She teaches competitive athletes ways to fuel and hydrate to optimize sports performance and maximize health.