What runners eat in a day?

This question is about Running
Sarah Achleithner
What runners eat in a day will depend on several factors, such as fitness level, time of day, gender, body size, running goals, lifestyle, genetics, health history and more. Generally speaking, the longer the run, the more food you need [1]. 
In general, runners should aim to eat a variety of foods that include complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, fruits and vegetables everyday. Carbohydrates should be included at each meal and make up 45-65% of the overall diet because they are the main energy source for working muscles during moderate-high intensity exercise [1, 2]. The majority of dietary carbohydrates should come from whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Foods that empty quickly from the stomach, such as refined carbohydrates and sugars, can be used during a race or immediately before a run to minimize discomfort. Protein and fat should make up the remainder of a runner’s diet, with protein accounting for 15-25% and fat accounting for 20-35% of daily caloric intake [1,2]. 
Including a variety of micronutrient-rich foods with antioxidants is important for performance and overall health. Runners may have higher sodium needs depending on their training and sweat rates, and can consider electrolyte supplements or focus on sodium-rich foods in their diets [1].
For specific guidance on what runners should eat pre- and post-run see this article.
healthy meal options on a gray background


  1. Vitale, K., & Getzin, A. (2019). Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients, 11(6), 1289. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061289
  2. Kerksick, C. M., Wilborn, C. D., Roberts, M. D., Smith-Ryan, A., Kleiner, S. M., Jäger, R., Collins, R., Cooke, M., Davis, J. N., Galvan, E., Greenwood, M., Lowery, L. M., Wildman, R., Antonio, J., Kreider, R. B. (2018, August 1). ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y