What's Runner's Diet? All You Need To Know And 6 Must-Have Foods

Regular runners, joggers or marathoners require proper nutrition to facilitate performance and get the most out of that cardio workout. Running boosts cardiovascular health but it also means getting the right kind of pre- and post-workout nutrition to enhance speed and endurance. To train for a 5k or a half marathon, it is critical to eat foods that are rich in lean protein and fat that give the body adequate energy for sustaining on long tracks.

Running also means excessive sweating and the tendency to get dehydrated. Drinking lots of water infused with sodium and potassium helps to maintain electrolyte balance in the body, reducing the risk of fainting spells, headaches or energy loss. Additionally, having good carbohydrates before a run fuels the body yet, eating fibre-rich foods can make the body sluggish because these are slow to digest and demand more energy. Read on below to find out more about foods that can be part of a runner's diet and the best time to have them:


Rich in potassium and magnesium, bananas are excellent foods for runners to munch on as a pre-workout meal. They are quick to digest and provide the body with enough fuel to sustain during a long jog. Bananas can also be chewed on during the jog and had after the workout to make up for the salts lost due to sweating.

When to consume: Pre- & Post-Workout

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a source of lean protein extremely essential for strengthening leg muscles utilised the most by runners. Those who run regularly can have a slightly larger helping of roast chicken to boost muscle recovery. Chicken is also a source of selenium that protects muscles from free radical damage.

When to consume: Post-workout or for dinner in soups, salads and roasts.


Ghee is an anti-inflammatory which means it helps boost immunity, reduces muscle soreness and helps the body to recover after a long run. Eating ghee in moderate amounts also provides the body with a source of healthy fats essential for lubrication and warding off internal dryness. 

When to consume: Have ghee with chapati or rice. A spoonful of ghee can also be had early morning washed down with lukewarm water.

Whole Grains

Runners can have chapatis and rice to boost energy that will enable them to sustain longer on the jogging track. However, joggers can opt for complex carbohydrates like millets which are high on energy but low on glycaemic index. This will help a steady release of energy and over time enable runners to jog longer miles.

When to consume: Have a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter or a chapati and groundnut chutney roll as an excellent pre-workout snack.


Filled with protein and fat, eggs are the most obvious choice for runners to fulfil their protein intake. But eggs also contain multiple vitamins and minerals which boost immunity and help in maintaining healthy blood cells. Eggs are also crucial for enhancing muscle recovery after a strenuous run.

When to consume: Have eggs post-workout in the morning. Eat the whole egg in a sandwich if you feel low on energy after the morning run.

Lime Juice

Lemons are citrusy fruits rich in vitamin C, salts, and potassium which help to rapidly replenish the body's sodium requirements after a long run. Have lime juice mixed in water with a bit of pink salt helps to maintain the body's electrolyte balance and ward off dehydration. Lime juice will fill up the body with nutrients that might have escaped during a sweaty run.

When to consume: Post-workout, especially in the evening since the body might already be fatigued after a long day of work.