Staying Healthy: What Runners Should Eat

by Jim Richardson | Last Updated: April 28, 2020

There’s nothing better than feeling like your legs are completely aligned with your mind as you make your way through your usual run. It feels exhilarating, even breathtaking. You want this feeling to last forever.

Photo by Dragne Marius on Unsplash

Running keeps your heart, among many other body functions, in shape. However, you need to make sure that you are fueling your body with the right nutrients to keep it strong. There are general rules of thumb when it comes to eating healthy for the average person, but runners require a little more attention. For those who live athletic lives, the perfect combo of carbohydrates and proteins in your diet will make all the difference. 


If you’re not much a savory breakfast type of person, bananas make the best high-carb energy booster for an early run, as they contain approximately 400 milligrams of potassium. You can eat one by itself, or you can grab a yogurt or berries. Eat a banana, and it will help you get through that long run while keeping you strong and vibrant.


If you are not allergic to nuts, almonds may be the perfect snack for you as a runner. Doctors recommend that runners eat a small handful of almonds a few times per week, as they are a great source of vitamin E, containing a much higher percentage than in other foods. These nuts will help lower circulating cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk for heart disease. They can also protect against cancer. However, if you are allergic to almonds, other foods that contain vitamin E are spinach, sweet potato, avocado, wheat germ, butternut squash, sunflower seeds. 


Broccoli isn’t the only amazing source of protein. Black beans will do the job just as well. They contain antioxidants and vitamin B, which contribute greatly to the health of your heart and its circulation. Additionally, they are low glycemic foods, which help control blood sugar levels. While black beans are great for everyone, runners greatly benefit from a bowl of black beans, as they also enhance performance as a result of their steady release of energy when consumed. 

Whether you plan ahead or find yourself in the grocery aisle looking for food that will keep you healthy other than a bag of mixed greens, these foods will provide a runner with the best source of nutrients to keep you living, running and energized for another day.

The No Meat Athlete Cookbook has been a huge help to me in transitioning to being a Vegan runner, and I’d really recommend it for anyone looking to fuel their running well.

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