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Foods That Can Help You Run Faster

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Six proven foods that can help you run faster. Beetroot, oats, salmon, bananas, berries, and eggs. They can help you boost your energy required while on the run, all the way through to your recovery period.

Got more questions for us? Connect with our Accredited Practising Dietitian and Osteopath In this blog you will learn about:

  • 6 Proven Foods that Help you Run Faster

  • Which Foods to Avoid Before Running

  • Safer Pre-Run Meals to Prevent Runner’s Gut

6 Proven Foods that Help you Run Faster

Practicing and patience is important for running, as it allows you to develop a strong mindset and confidence in your sport. However, to become faster in addition to consistent training, you'll need to follow specific nutrition practices to replenish your glycogen stores and fluid losses. This contributes to enhancing your energy levels and your ability to push harder for longer periods of time.

Here are six highly proven foods to help you gain extra energy to boost your speed and recovery:

  • Beetroot

This might be your first time hearing about beetroot and running. But research has shown that beetroot can support muscle efficiency and boost blood flow. This will reduce your recovery time by allowing for faster nutrient delivery to the tissues which results in decreased muscle soreness after running or sprinting.

beetroot is healthy and good for running

  • Oats

It’s 2022 people, time to stop demonizing carbs! Carbohydrates play an important role in providing and maintaining energy levels throughout endurance based training. Without carbohydrates, you will likely lack the energy to last long in your running. Like when you run in the morning, having oats in your pre-run meal is beneficial to provide sustained energy since it is a low glycemic food which regulates your blood sugar levels.

oats help regulate blood sugar levels

  • Banana

Aside from oats, a banana is another option for a carb-packed, potassium-rich fruit and has energy-boosting properties. Research claims that a single banana and a cup of water can help to boost your speed, energy, attention, and recovery time.

banana has energy boosting properties

  • Berries

Just like bananas, berries are rich in vitamin C and potassium. These will assist you particularly with your recovery due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties which are required by the body to recuperate immediately after an uphill sprint or run.

mixed berries contain antioxidant helpful for recovery in athletes

  • Salmon

This fish helps strengthen excellent heart health and regenerates and recovers strained, torn muscles, so you're prepared for your next run. For the most nutrient-dense combination, combine with leafy greens.

salmon fish and omega 3 helps heart health

  • Eggs

It's impossible to go wrong with a classic plate of hard-boiled eggs as a handy treat to enjoy after exercise. Eggs are a good choice for maintaining, building, and repairing muscle because they include all nine essential amino acids, commonly referred to as the critical components of protein.

eggs are high quality source of protein for recovery and repairing of muscle after exercise in athletes

  • Caffeine

And lastly, caffeine. According to studies, even little doses of caffeine can improve endurance by an average of 23.8 seconds. Try having caffeine at least 1 hour before your run. If your training or events are longer than 2 hours, work with your sports dietitian to implement caffeine boosts throughout.

Which Foods to Avoid Before Running

Now that we're done with what you should eat before and after you run, let’s also take into consideration what to avoid before your training.

🚫 Sugar Sweetened Beverages

🚫 Spicy food

🚫 High Fiber veggies

🚫 Lactose-rich foods

The foods listed above have been reported to contribute to gut discomfort in runners.

  • Fizzy drinks and spicy food can cause indigestion

  • High fiber foods take longer to digest and can sit in the stomach, causing runners to feel bloated. Opt for these foods in your recovery meal instead!

  • Dairy and lactose should not be a problem if you are not lactose intolerant. However if you are, avoiding lactose for up to 2 hours before your run is recommended.

Safer pre-run meals to prevent Runner’s Gut

  • Since they are simpler to digest and provide a quick burst of energy, white rice and plain bagels/bread are both encouraged options.

  • You can also try low-fiber fruits and vegetables, including grapefruit, tomatoes, olives, grapes, and zucchini.

These foods will help you get the energy needed for your maximum performance and recovery and will not contribute to any gut discomfort!

Do you know anymore foods which help you run and recover faster? Share it with us so we can include them on our list!

  • Write an answer

Check out this blog for other fuelling techniques: Carbohydrate Fuelling for Athletes

Or better yet, contact our Accredited Practising Dietitian, to get individualised nutrition advice here!


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