SportsWhat are the Best Nutritional Choices for Long-distance Runners?

What are the Best Nutritional Choices for Long-distance Runners?


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If you run for a few kilometers every day, you probably care a lot about your physical and mental health. There are numerous benefits of regular jogging, including more energy for other daily activities, better posture, and the regulation of your sleep cycle. However, if you want to improve your physical health and continue with your daily workout routines, you have to put more thought into long-term control of food intake.

Nutrition is vital for your health because it enables you to fuel your body with vitamins and nutrients that will make you feel good and more capable to withstand tiring physical activities. Depending on your body weight and height, and the duration of your average runs, you have to create a nutrition plan that will support your decision to run for a few kilometers a day. The key is not only to train to reach all your running goals but to be able to finish strong and have more energy afterward.

Choose to be conscious about your diet

Changing the diet and trying new foods and recipes is not as easy as it sounds. It may be hard, in the beginning, to make changes and put more effort, but you need to remember that you’re doing it for your good. You may know that you need to eat foods high in proteins and carbohydrates after you finish your workout, but that’s often not enough and may even cause problems if you increase the intake of these nutrients. Once you learn what you need to eat and how to determine the amount of each type of food, it will be easier to create a diet plan and stick to the new regime. It’s also vital to learn when to eat certain foods, and how can they improve your overall health.


As a long-distance runner, you probably exercise at least one hour a day without taking a break. Your body may feel weak and tired after you return to your home, and you feel cravings for any type of food that will restore your strength. That’s why it’s vital to focus on your carbs intake. They’re your main source of energy and will make you feel energized if you eat foods that contain carbs after you finish running. Fueling your endurance through running requires 2.5-4.5 grams of carbs per pound of your weight on a daily level.

Many foods contain carbohydrates, but you need to choose high-quality ones if you want to remain healthy and energetic. You can find bad carbohydrates in foods that contain refined carbs with a low fiber amount, which includes flour and sugar. Legumes, nuts, and whole grains contain carbs that will make you healthier, but you can also get them from vegetables, some fruits, and chia or pumpkin seeds.

Consuming a proper amount of carbs and proteins after you finish running is essential. They will improve recovery and stimulate protein synthesis, but they will also enhance your performance the next time you go for a run. It’s advisable to consume them before the run as well but in moderate amounts.

Lots of water

Water is one of the crucial parts of your nutrition. We all need it, but not as much as someone who runs approximately for seven hours a week. As you run, your body is trying to regulate your temperature through perspiration. Sweating is a process you experience every day, and you probably know how much liquid is your body ready to give away. However, it’s vital to compensate and regulate the amount of water that’s in your system.

If you run for at least one hour a day, you will have to hydrate yourself with two to three cups of water at least two hours before you decide to go for a run. It’s also advisable to drink one cup of water 15-20 minutes before running a long distance.

Once you start running, try to take a few sips every ten minutes. It will help you stay hydrated, and your body won’t lose large quantities of water at once. You might have to consume two cups of water if you decide to run for an hour. Never try to decrease water intake. If you’ve been avoiding drinking water during your exercise, it’s time to change your bad habits and hydrate yourself. Don’t finish your drink at once, but do your best to find your rhythm. Your body needs some time to adapt to regular water intake if you’ve been avoiding to take a bottle of water with you for too long.

Protein intake

protein eggs

Protein should be one of the crucial parts of your nutrition because your body uses it to build and repair tissues. They also participate in other important bodily functions and processes, such as the making of enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals that are crucial for our development. It is one of the three nutrients that provide calories, while others are fats and carbohydrates. If you want to be capable to endure and withstand the long run, you have to give your body a certain amount of protein-rich foods every day. It’s also vital to learn when is the best time to consume protein. Studies show that you should take it after you finish with your workout. The reason why this is the best time is that consumption of protein after a long run can help you repair your muscle tissues and regain more energy.

Luckily, various foods are rich in protein, and you can find them in your local store, or even your backyard! Eggs and dairy products can provide the daily amount of protein, but you can also find it in lean meat and poultry. If you don’t consume animal products, other foods will help you stay healthy. Seitan, tofu, and chickpeas are popular vegan protein sources. Nutritional yeast and hemp seeds can also satisfy your daily needs. It’s vital to try various options and increase the diversity of your diet.

Foods rich in fiber

Fiber can do wonders for your body, especially if you’re a long-runner. It will keep your digestive system healthy and control the bowel movement. Moderate amounts of fiber will make you feel less heavy and ready to start your training without hesitation. It’s vital to include it in your diet, but you also have to be very careful about your fiber intake. If you continue to eat them recklessly and don’t care to follow your diet plan, you might experience negative side effects. It’s advisable to stay away from fiber the night before your race and try to consume it in moderate amounts.

Various foods are rich in fiber, which makes it easy to find and consume. Apples, berries, and citrus fruits are rich in this nutrient, but you can also find it in beans, nuts, and oatmeal. These options allow you to integrate fiber into the first meal of your day. Dairy products and meat don’t contain fiber. If you’re not a fan of foods that contain fiber, you should talk to your doctor and determine whether you need to take supplements that will encourage a regular bowel movement.

Healthy fats

There’s no specific recommendation for healthy fats for runners, but you should do your best to integrate them into your diet. Healthy fats are essential for your body because they will lower the risks of heart disease and stroke. Diets high in healthy fats may boost weight loss and reduce the risk of inflammation. You can find them in nuts, olive oil, and avocados. Luckily, cheese, dark chocolate, fatty fish, and chia seeds are also rich in healthy fats, and you should eat them at least a few times a week. Chia seeds, greek yogurt, and bananas can be a light snack during your lunch break at work.

Eating habits

Professional runners need to be careful about what foods they can consume and how often. But, they also have to be conscious of the amount of food they consume daily. Runners usually tend to train more before marathons or similar competition, and they’re burning more calories every day. That’s why if you want to run more often, you need to increase the amount of food you decide to put in your body.

It’s advisable to change the diet regardless of the marathon. If you feel weak and tired after each running session, that’s one of the first signs that your diet plan is not good for you anymore. A calculator will help you determine how much calories are you burning during your runs, and the numbers will help you compensate and replace those calories with foods rich in nutrients.

It’s never a good practice to eat less than thirty minutes before your training or a race, which is why you need to find your tempo and eat enough food at least two hours before you start to move.

Supplementation and vitamins


You won’t be able to find your favorite fruits and vegetables throughout the whole year. That may affect your nutritional goals and force you to change your eating habits, especially if you’re a picky eater. If you’re experiencing any health problems, you need to start taking vitamins and supplements that will help you maintain a healthy body and mind.

There are various types of supplements that you can include in your diet. One of the most beneficial nutritional supplements is whey protein powder. It would be beneficial for you to incorporate it into your daily diet, and drink it after you you finish running. It will help you recover your muscles faster, and the recovery won’t be as intense and painful. The muscles usually need a couple of days to recover, but you can speed up the process by including it into your daily diet. Whey protein powder promotes muscle growth, and it’s an excellent source of a required amount of protein. Other supplements can help you manage some health conditions and improve your overall health. Consult your doctor before you start using supplements in your diet.

The balance between raw and cooked meals

It’s time to start taking better care of yourself. It’s not easy to make a lot of progress in the beginning, but your body will get used to changes. If you really want to run faster and improve your health, one of the first things you’ll have to do is decrease the consumption of processed foods. We all love to treat ourselves to burgers, pizza, or a few slices of cheesecake, but some people tend to eat these foods every day.

Try not to fry food every day, and create a balance between raw and cooked meals. Cooked meals are great for your health, and they can easily boost your immune system, especially during cold winter days. But, some foods can lose their healthy nutrients after you process them. Raw meals can help you create balance, and they’re also not as heavy as cooked meals.

Salads and fresh fruits are delicious, and you can combine them with the meals you want to prepare. Eat fruit before meals because they’re easy to digest and they won’t linger in your body for too long. If you eat them after a dish that takes a few hours to digest, a large amount of food will stay in your guts for longer than it should. Try eating fruit salads when you crave sugary goods.


As a runner, you have to take good care of your body. There are always going to be new challenges to overcome, but you need to be strong enough to witness these opportunities. Diet should be of great importance to you because adequate nutrients will fuel you and provide enough energy to function normally during and after the run.

Understanding calories and different diets that could change your life is difficult, but you will be able to create a nutrition plan that suits you. You can find information about nutrition and diet online, but it’s vital to check the sources and consult your doctor before you make any drastic changes. Your doctor will be able to recommend a reliable nutritionist, and together you will create a diet plan that will make you feel better throughout the whole day, especially during and after a long run.


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