March 13, 2024

What should I eat before & after my run?

This is the year that the Kic community are entering their running era! Wondering how to fuel your body before and after your runs? Keep scrolling….

If you’re just getting started or you’re running for less than an hour per day (huge flex to anyone who is running more than this) it’s really important to focus on general, holistic healthy eating. We’re talking balanced meals, consuming enough food but not overdoing it before you exercise. 

In terms of specific foods, carbs should be your BFF, you can’t be fearful of carbs! Carbohydrates are our major fuel source for exercising. Carbs include the likes of fruit, veggies and whole grains, think of anything that’s a plant, not an animal product. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is our major energy source. Whatever we don’t utilise throughout the day for general function and brain power, we store as glycogen in our muscles and liver, which we use for our main energy source when we’re exercising – particularly running. Our bodies then convert that to ATP which allows muscle contraction. 

So in a nutshell, if  we’re not eating enough carbs our glycogen stores get depleted pretty quickly, we can’t contract our muscles because we’re running out of ATP and then we get fatigued, which makes our runs so much harder and recovery much longer!

To break it down even further, Kic’s dietitian, Liv Morrison has answered your questions on when and what to eat pre & post-run below…

How long before my run should I eat?

Ideally you don’t want to be eating too much an hour before your run, because you don’t want your body concentrating on digestion, you want the focus to be on your run. We have two different energy sources or nervous systems. When we’re running, we’re in our sympathetic nervous system, no doubt you’ve heard of fight or flight? On the flip side we have our parasympathetic nervous system, which is our rest & digest system, so we need that energy switch from rest and digest, to fight or flight, to power us through our runs.

What snacks could I eat before my run?

You’ll want to snack on something 1 – 2 hours before your run that is high in quick acting carbohydrates and low in protein, fibre and fat. That way it’s easier for your body to convert into glycogen to fuel our muscles for training. Some simple yet effective snack options are dates, dried fruits, crumpets, toast or rice cakes with honey, creamed rice, flavoured milk and muesli bars. 

Kic's pre-run snack recommendations: 


  • Choc Banana Oat Bars 
  • Marvellous Museli Bar
  • Oatmeal Cookie 
  • Chunky Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

What meals should I eat in the lead up to my run?

If you’re running in the morning, your pre-run meal will be dinner the night before, and if you’re running after work, it will be your lunch that day. Make sure you’re allowing 3-4 hours before to ensure your body isn’t processing your meal. But don’t forget to fuel your body with a snack 1-2 hours before. 

Kic's pre-run meal recipe recommendations:


  • Fried Rice
  • Lemon Barramundi & Greens Pasta 
  • Pasta Salad 
  • Apple Pie Porridge with yoghurt – who doesn’t love brekkie for lunch?! 

And what if I'm running for longer than 60 minutes, do I need to eat more? 

When you’re looking to extend your runs, increase the intensity or train more often throughout the week, you’ll need to slightly up the ante to help you reduce fatigue and speed up recovery. But there’s no one size fits all recommendation, it’s all specific to each individual. Think to yourself, what’s normal for me? And how can I slightly increase my consumption? We’re not talking drastic changes, for example if you were eating 3-4 dates before your 40 minute run, you could increase this to 6-8 dates to power you through a longer run!

When should I eat after my run?

Optimally you’ll want to be eating between 1hour – 1.5 hours after a big run. If you find you don’t have much of an appetite (which is so normal) you can opt for a snack like fruit toast with butter or a smoothie with banana & milk. You want to refuel with carbohydrates because your body is best at replacing glycogen stores within this time frame to help repair our muscles. 

If you do have an appetite, now’s the time to make the most of it! Refuel with a tasty meal with a 2:1 carb to protein ratio.  

What Kic recipes are good for a post-run snack?


  • Rice Crispy Protein Bars 
  • Blueberry & Oat Bars 
  • Chocolate Protein Ice-cream 
  • PB & J Protein Smoothie 


And what would you recommend for my post-run meal?


  • Sesame Salmon, Brown Rice & Asian Greens
  • Cauliflower Bolognese
  • Baked Blueberry Oats
  • Overnight Weetbix

What is the best way to look after my body post-run?

Remember the Four Rs… 

Replenish – Replenish your carbohydrates so you can replenish glycogen stores

Rehydrate – Guzzle down water! You need to replace fluids from sweat as that can really improve recovery and muscle soreness. 

Repair – Repair your muscles with protein. Make sure you’re consuming protein within the 1-1.5 hour window. 

Rest – Don’t underestimate how much your body needs rest. Sleep is important!