Runner’s Share: Pre-Run Fuel

Runner's Share

Need some suggestions for fueling up before you run?
Check out these awesome ideas from Instagram runners around the world:



+ Oatmeal
+ Cream of rice
+ Cliff Bar
+ English Muffin
+ Toast
+ Cereal
+ Bagel
+ Nuun
+ Waffle
+ Honey
+ Saltine crackers


+ Peanut Butter
+ Egg Whites
+ Marigold Protein bar
+ Cliff Bar
+ Nuts
+ Hummus


+ Banana
+ Green Apple
+ Blueberries
+ Apple sauce
+ Raisins


+ Coffee
+ An oatmeal raisin cookie



+ Pizza & donuts the night before
+ Heavy spicy stew with rich homemade broth and loaded with veggies
+ Chicken Parmesan
+ Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich + a long island
+ Black bean and beet burger from No Meat Athlete
+ Cheeseburger
+ Steak & potatoes
+ Pizza and wine
+ Pasta or a turkey sandwich
+ Carbs & less protein (something easy to digest) and then water


+ Home-made banana bread
+ A banana with a sprinkle of salt
+ Dried banana chips and Maurten gels during
+ Avocado bagel
+ Peanut butter and bread with half a banana
+ Nothing, oatmeal, or PB toast – depends on my race strategy or distance
+ Cliff bar, banana, 12 oz. salted water, and a 5 hr. energy
+ Bagel & cream cheese
+ Greek yogurt with granola or cereal
+ English muffin with laughing cow cheese
+ Bagel & honey
+ Sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich
+ Sourdough bread slices
+ Black coffee
+ Oatmeal (preferably chocolate chip)


@minimalinfluence – @sergio_guerra_r – @randyrunzmaine – @cris.tianlg – @kaf_runn – @runningbaldman – @jimmystixruns – @queen_authentic – @lea.zun – @scrubs_n_spandex – @andrewtram – @dontcallita_runback – @elaina_runs – @nomivv – @tbogda0471 – @dp_on_the_go – @ellakbuss – @lindseyandrew – @oli_beringer – @millzgotmiles – @zhanelturarbek – @t_perk13 – @ruben_sgomes – @j5thekosmostones – @dwaynejordan23 – @nartron3k – @siamese.runner – @fafi_stags – @trekettup – @caragiovannaa – @willa_jace01- @run_like_a_mother2 – @lenaclaudia – @dan_runs_downtown – @jordynefriedenfels – @thatsastep1 – @madisonbrookeharmer – @stevekorchinos – – @1beer.1mile – @emily_kenyon4 – @mikefire53 – @stavlevyhalabe – @run_emc – @kelli.threet – @casi.lummer – @sprintergonedistance – @amystrahan – @sk1nnylegs – @lizzieroyer – @ambegezda – @_tony_trains – @runthefifty_ – @frumpycob – @hannalyn13 – – @innerathletemi – @xtyleryoungx –

Once you’ve explored, make sure to share your own suggestions below!



Do you eat before you run?

Okay. I mean. Most say that you should fuel up before a run – ESPECIALLY before a race – but why? We all know that it helps to sustain your energy, keeps you going, helps to ensure sure you don’t crash mid-run… but I’m a morning runner – and I don’t always LIKE – or have TIME – to fuel up before I head out.

But what’s actually best?

Here are a few things to consider when figuring out what is best for YOU:


How long do you need to digest your fuel?

And, according to Mayo Clinic – digestion time varies between individuals and between men and women. What does this mean for you? It means that IT DEPENDS. You may need to experiment and explore with different foods, times, and combinations before you find what’s best for you personally. What else does this mean? It means that when someone is telling you exactly what you should do – BE CAUTIOUS. Nobody knows what’s best for you except for…well… you.

Whatcha been eating all week?

Fueling up isn’t only about the pre-run snack or meal – it can also include everything you’ve been eating for days prior – and EVERYONE’S NEEDS ARE DIFFERENT. For me personally, if I eat too big of a meal the night before my race – I’M GOING DOWN. Seriously. I’ve had to move my “pre-run” meal to the entire week before the race. If I eat too late – say, carb-loading the night before the race – personally, my body definitely does not have time to process what I’ve eaten. When this happens, I get sick, have more cramps, and sometimes have a “heavy” feeling that keeps me from running as fast as I can. Finding what works best for you takes time though, and lots of trial-and-error. It’s taken me 6 years to figure out what’s best for me personally, and I’m still learning (and my body is always changing). So make sure you consider the fact that your body is using fuel that it has stored over time – not just from the morning of the run or race.


What type of run are you doing?

Long runs?

Lizzie Kasparek, R.D., sports dietitian for the Sanford Sports Science Institute – suggests “eating two to four hours before a long run.” Long runs require much more energy – which means you may not have adequate fuel in your system to keep you going without a little pre-run snack or meal. However – with this fuel – comes a digestion time. It’s important to consider how much you’ve eaten and how much time you’ll need to digest it before you head out for that longer run!

What about shorter runs?

According to Vishal Patel, chief sports nutritionist at Nuun, if you’re going out for a short run (say 3-4 miles) – you can likely “skip the pre-run meal or snack.” Why is this? Because your body may actually have enough energy stored up in the form of carbs and nutrients to get you through the run. HOWEVER – AGAIN – it is all about your personal preference and needs. If you find that fueling up before a short run best enhances your performance – GO FOR IT. Everyone has different nutritional needs, and you know those needs best.


What are you fueling up with & how much?

It’s also important to fuel up on the RIGHT KIND of foods if you’re going to be eating that pre-run snack or meal. And not just the right kind – but the RIGHT AMOUNT as well. We all know what high-fiber foods do… so maybe lay off the broccoli & beans before you go for your run. But fueling up on some carbs & protein – Kasparek suggests – can be quickly turned into energy to use on those runs. A little oatmeal, some toast and peanut butter, a power bar – just a few options to keep that energy high. But make sure you’re consuming an amount that optimizes your performance. Personally, I eat a power-bar a few hours before a race. It’s light enough that it doesn’t feel like a huge meal – but it gives me enough energy to get me through.


It’s all about finding what’s best for you. And it will take a little bit of exploration and experimentation. Everyone has different needs, bodies, and schedules – and therefor, we all have different pre-run preparation. Finding what works best for you is an ever-evolving process, and that’s okay! Just keep exploring and enjoying the process! Share your pre-run fuel plan below!


Heather Mayer Irvine Freelance Writer Heather is the former food and nutrition editor for Runner’s World and the author of The Runner’s World Vegetarian Cookbook. “Unsure What to Eat Before a Run? These Ideas Fuel Every Distance and Sit Well.” Runner’s World, 3 Apr. 2020,

Laurel Leicht Updated August 14, and Laurel Leicht. “What to Eat Before, During, and After Running.”,

Luff, Christine. “Why Should You Eat Before a Run?” Verywell Fit, 2 Apr. 2020,

FUEL REVIEW: Mediterranean Orzo & Roasted Veggie Salad

Fuel Review





+ 5-6 servings


+ 420 calories/serving (6 servings)
+ 505 calories/serving (5 servings)


+ From start to finish – this recipe takes about an hour (including baking time of the veggies).
+ I chose to add black beans and corn to the recipe for some extra color and protein
+ You can adjust the seasoning and the ingredients to fit your preferences!



+ 1 red bell pepper
+ 1 yellow bell pepper
+ 1 orange bell pepper
+ 1 green bell pepper
+ 1 bunch asparagus
+ 1 can of corn
+ 1 can black beans
+ 1 onion
+ 2 tbsp. olive oil
+ 4 tsp. garlic
+ 2 cups grape tomatoes
+ 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta


+ 2 or 3 lemons (based on preference – I used 3!)
+ 2 tbsp. olive oil
+ 1 tsp. salt
+ 1 tsp. pepper


+ 3 tbsp. parsley
+ 6 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese



+ Preheat oven to 425

+ Prepare a sheet pan with olive oil (You may need two)

+ Chop up the peppers, asparagus, onion, tomatoes, and garlic
(Dice the peppers, cut asparagus in half or thirds, dice onions, cut tomatoes in half, mince garlic)

+ Toss the veggies with the olive oil on the sheet pan and ensure that all veggies are spread on the pan without overlap

+ Season with salt and pepper and put into the oven

+ Bake veggies in oven for 30-40 minutes (check regularly and continue to flip veggies every 10-15 minutes)


+ While veggies are cooking, start boiling water for orzo

+ While waiting for water to boil, prepare the dressing

+ Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, and olive oil to bowl and whisk

+ Once water is boiling, add orzo to pot (orzo will take approximately 7-8 minutes to cook based on preference)

+ While orzo is cooking, open and rinse black beans and corn – set aside

+ Once pasta is finished, strain and place in bowl with a little olive oil
(enough to coat – this will help to keep the orzo from getting sticky while the veggies finish up)


+ Once veggies are finished, remove and dump into large mixing bowl

+ Add the rinsed black beans, corn, and pasta

+ Add the dressing

+ Toss lightly

+ Chop up parsley (enough to preference) and add to mixture

+ Taste & season to preference with salt and pepper (and lemon juice if you’d like more)

+ Split up into 4-5 containers based on calorie preferences

+ When you’re ready to eat a serving, top with feta cheese!




Running Super Foods 

Which foods are the nutritional superheroes when it comes to boosting our energy, preventing sickness, and optimizing our performance? 


Broccoli is one of our MVP’s when it comes to nutrition. Offering a source of Vitamin K & C, Fiber, Folate, and Potassium; broccoli can reduce inflammation, boost our immunity, and improve our digestion (among many more things). Basically, broccoli can prevent you from getting sick before race day, help flush out toxins, and keep your body regulated.  


Whether you’re a runner, or simply someone with a busy schedule, you know the importance of keeping your energy level up – and oatmeal will do just that! Oatmeal provides a healthy source of carbs to help us power through the day while also improving our blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and even lowering cholesterol. 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse when it comes to Vitamins – providing up to 4x the recommended daily amount of Vitamin A we need within just one potato! Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber, Vitamins D, C, B, and antioxidants. While keeping your energy up and your belly full, sweet potatoes can also help with vision (allowing you to keep your eyes on the trail, or road, ahead) and keep your immune system functioning at peak performance!


Herbs and spices can offer a shocking number of health benefits – and cinnamon is no exception. This superhero spice can help to lower blood sugar,  keep our brains functioning longer, and can even help fight off infections and bacteria. ​While it’s medicinal properties are still being studied, many of the studies that have been conducted show evidence that cinnamon may be more powerful than we ever thought. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that cinnamon comes in different versions. What you need to know is Ceylon cinnamon > Cassia cinnamon. 


Grapefruit, compared to some of the carb-dense superheroes we’ve already talked about, is extremely low in calories – yet it’s still PACKED with health benefits. Coming in at just over 50 calories per grapefruit – this citrus all-star is high in both Vitamin C and fiber. Grapefruits are a great food source for hydration, they keep our immune system functioning properly, and they can even keep your body’s insulin level at bay. What does that mean? Basically, they can regulate the sugar levels in your body while also fighting off bacteria and infection. Oh, one last thing, they can boost your metabolism! 


Berries – so many types, and so many superpowers! Berries have long been regarded as a major source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Berries have the powers to reduce inflammation (inflammation that can ultimately lead to some of our major diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer).  Outside of being such a defender against disease, berries help our artery efficiency, reduce oxidative stress, and guard against injury. 




Ann Arbor, Michigan

State #10

Where? Ann Arbor, Michigan
State?  #10
Date?  June 3, 2018
Race?   Dexter Ann-Arbor Half Marathon
Finish Time?   1:39:00
Pace?   7:35/mile

1/5 DONE!!

1/5 of the way through the states!!! Wow, I can’t believe I’m already on my 10th state, 1/5 of the way finished with my journey. It has been an amazing adventure so far, and state #10 was no exception.

State #10 was done in Ann Arbor, Michigan. First things first: the location. Ann Arbor is an absolutely beautiful place with so much to see and to do; it also has a huge downtown area with tons of little shops, boutiques and restaurants. Next: my Ann-Arbor cheer squad (my travel companions). This was the second race that my older sister, Carrie, made the trip to see; and this time, she brought her whole crew. My sister, brother in-law, niece, and two nephews all came along to explore Ann Arbor and watch me race. I can’t exactly describe how wonderful it feels to have family willing and eager to come and be a part of my goals, dreams, and adventures, to have all of their support and encouragement is truly irreplaceable.

First we all met at the hotel, they had traveled from Green Bay and me from Athens, Ohio. We met, briefly set our things down and discussed where to go, and quickly headed out to explore the downtown area of Ann Arbor. Once down there, I was informed about the children’s goal for the trip: to see all of the fairy doors. At first I was a bit confused, but after hearing their excitement and doing a little research, I realized how freakin’ cool it actually was, I mean who doesn’t like a good fairy mystery? So, to clarify, all around downtown Ann Arbor are about 20-25 little fairy doors. They are hidden in between, inside of, outside of, and all over the shops, restaurants, and businesses (like the library, in case you ever need to know). The goal is to find all of them, including the very mysterious and hard-to-find goblin door.

We walked around, eagerly searching in between our stops in the little shops. We found several fairy doors, got some ice cream, and then it was time for my favorite part of the day: PRE RACE MEAL. We ate at a delicious local Italian restaurant with AMAZING pizzas and pastas. I got pasta, soup, tons of bread, and admittedly tried some of Carries’ family pizza.

Once we had filled up, we decided to head back to the hotel, swim a bit, and relax. My sister and I watched the boys and Kenzie swim as we caught up on life, lounging back in our chairs. Then Kenzie (10 years old) got out of the pool and started chatting with me. It’s priceless to have time to get to know your niece better when I only get to see her a few times a year. I felt so lucky to have even 30 minutes to learn about her life, her school, her interests, and be a part of her life.

Evidently we ate Linner (lunch/dinner) a LITTTTLLEEE too early to fill our bellies for the night, so once we got back to the hotel room we decided to order some pizza (bad choice, but I mean, when you’re hungry you’re hungry). We ate pizza, breadsticks, posssssssibly some cinnamon sticks (woops), and went to bed with our bellies full.

RACE DAY. I woke up, got dressed, took my beet juice (read about this in my tip’s section), and put my race bib on. My family drove me to the starting location, which was at a nearby high school. The race started at the high school and then we ran 13.1 miles straight to finish downtown. My family took my picture, wished me luck, calmed me down when I started to freak out, and then left to meet me downtown.

The race… Beautiful, but also pretty brutal. I think that’s the last time I talk myself into Domino’s pizza at 10 p.m. being “fine” before my race. Yes, I threw up, a few times. But, I finished! I pulled it together at the end and finished the race. I could hear my little niece and nephews cheering me on during the last .1 as I finished. I always like to end with a sprint, but they gave me extra motivation to sprint even faster in the final stretch.

There’s always this feeling after finishing a half marathon, an irreplaceable, unmatchable, feeling of ecstasy. A feeling like you can do anything, a grateful, thankful, mindful, peaceful feeling of happiness. I can’t put it into words, but if you’re a runner, I’m sure you’ve had this feeling before. After finishing, we walked around downtown more as I let this feeling continue to flow through me.

As we walked, we noticed there was a food festival happening downtown. And, if you can’t tell, our family loves food… soooo obviously we bought some tickets and explored juuuust a little more before departing. I tried some Sheppard’s pie (YUM), some beer (DOUBLE YUM), and an oreo cupcake (TRIPLE YUM). Honestly the perfect post-race combo. But after trying lots of yummy foods, the time had finally come to say goodbye’s to both Ann Arbor and my family.

As I pulled away, waving at my family, I felt so unbelievably grateful. I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about how lucky I was to have had such a perfect weekend away from “the real world”. At this point in my life, I was about 3 weeks away from finishing my Master’s and also working full time as a preschool teacher and mentor teacher. The amount of stress in my life was almost unbearable before leaving for this trip; between four courses (I had doubled up to finish my degree a semester early), work obligations, the natural stress from being a teacher, and training every day, I was at a loss of both time, energy, and as always, money. I actually had to go see a doctor about the fact that I could barely turn my head side-to-side due to the stiffness from stress and was also developing a rash (too much info???). But, as I left this half marathon, everything seemed okay, no, actually, everything seemed perfectly unperfect. There was no possibility of returning to that stress level, because I had realized how truly blessed I was, that’s what race #10 gave me: peace in my perfectly unperfect life.