Food Mapping Alongside Run Training - She Runs Eats Performs

Episode 146

Published on:

29th Jun 2023

Food Mapping Alongside Run Training

Knowing how to plan your everyday meals around run training is tricky!

Today we are sharing our tips and planning techniques to help you plan to eat the correct foods at the correct times in the correct amounts to fuel training.

This becomes increasingly important as a runner increases their training load. Very few people have the same daily routine so it’s helpful to be able to be flexible with your food choices as well as your training schedule.

If you eat at the same food at the same time every day, regardless of your run training that can result in hunger, cravings, and low energy and poor recovery.

Today we are going to cover:

1. What to consider when syncing your training and food plan to support you

2. Planning your food around morning run training

3. Planning your food around evening run training

A BIG thank you to our Show Sponsor AMAZING JANE ACTIVE WEAR. Please use discount code RHH10 for 10% off ALL purchases at



Where to start when synchronising food plans with training. Consider:

Training plans/intentions - consider distance, type of training, timing of training, and then start planning out your training “on paper” so you can factor food into your plan.

Ideally map out one week so you can see at a glance what training you’ll be doing and at what time.

On training days it’s key to ask yourself what your requirements are for pre/during and post fuelling and what athlete plate should you be following i.e. for easy or moderate or hard training.

It’s also important to consider what you have been eating and drinking before your run and that may include the day before your training run.


Pros and Cons of being an early Morning Runner


  • Fasted state running – if you are planning an easy run of less than 90 minutes in duration you may run in a fasted state – so no food, only water. Fasted state running will support fat metabolism
  • Energy boost before work – gets the endorphins active


  • Waking early – make sure you are getting enough sleep so perhaps going to bed earlier
  • Time restrictions – you’ll need to factor in time for your run and recovery before going on with the rest of your day
  • Enhanced warm up after a night in bed – remember to warm up before starting your run



Planning Tips for Morning Runners

  1. Our advice would be if planning a long run early morning so a run that will be 90 minutes or longer:
  2.  Prepare the night before e.g. lay out running kit, snacks and water for during the run and prepare your pre run breakfast
  3. Eat a carbohydrate rich meal the night before
  4. Prepare breakfast the night before - maybe eat it before you get dressed so you are factoring in some time to digest your food. Choose easy to digest foods and you may even consider a liquid breakfast like a smoothie



A planning example for a morning runner who is doing a long run say 2.5 hours plus covering 13-14 miles and they plan to set off from home at 630am.

Most people will need at least 1 hour to digest food before setting out on a run. So, if you plan to start running at 630am, you’ll need to eat at 530am. When you are practiced in eating before running, you may be able have a shorter eating window.

Our suggestion would be to have a glass of water as soon as you wake up, then eat your pre run breakfast, then get dressed and do your warmup before leaving. Choose a high carbohydrate breakfast. Overnight oats are a great choice or a pre-made smoothie or perhaps a banana on toast.

Don’t forget to pick up your water and during run snacks before you leave home and remember to factor in a quick release carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes of finishing your run followed by eating a meal or snack within 2 hours and include CHO and protein to ratio of 4 parts CHO to 1 part Protein.


If you’d like some help with EASY NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY RUNNERS check out our programme.

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Pros and Cons of being an evening runner


  • Optimal fueling – if you’ve been eating appropriately during the day you will be fueled up which will help energy reserves and also your daily activities will have helped to warm you up so will in turn reduce the risk of injury
  • De-stressor – if you’ve had a busy day having an evening run can be a de stressor of the mind

Cons – are not the same for everyone but you may have to consider:

  • Low energy as a result of whatever activities you’ve undertaken during the day, you may feel tired, it could be as a result of what you’ve been eating or drinking – starting a training run feeling tired is not a good idea
  • Sleep disruption – some people find that exercise in the evening is stimulating so can disrupt sleep patterns so early evening runs would be more supportive than a late evening run
  • Running may suppress your appetite you may inadvertently under eat which can lead to poor recovery and low energy
  • Also food related you may find you have less time after your run to prepare an evening meal
  • Less consistency – there is more chance that “life” will get in the way, and you may not always be able to stick with your intention to do your training – so potentially less consistency, however if your regular routine is evenings you will be fine! We all have different preferences


A planning example for an evening runner who is doing a long run of 2.5 hours plus covering 13-14 miles and they plan to set off from home at 630 pm after a day at the office and a 1-hour commute home by car.

So, they’d be finishing work around 500pm. They’d arrive home at 600pm and have a 30-minute turnaround time before heading out on their run and complete their run around 900pm.

Assuming that they won’t be able to eat whilst driving the first thing they should do as soon as they walk through the door at home is have a QUICK RELEASE CHO snack e.g. a banana or a fruit smoothie or some dried fruit like medjool dates, then go and get changed, collect their snacks and water for fuelling during their training run and off they go.


Ideas to help you fuel adequately earlier in the day if you are planning an evening run.

  1. Have a substantial lunch and if possible make that your main meal of the day around 1pm-2pm and that should keep you adequately fueled, also consider adding in a late afternoon snack say around 400pm which would include a combination of protein and carbohydrate e.g. a homemade flapjack or oatcakes with hummus or cottage cheese.
  2. Hydration is important so drink water regularly throughout the day so that you are starting your training run in a well hydrated state.
  3. Follow the same principles as a morning runner, so a Quick Release CHO snack within 30 minutes, and then a light meal or snack ideally 2 hours before bedtime so there is adequate time to digest food, so sleep is not interrupted. Soup is a good choice or maybe eggs with toast or a baked sweet potato with a topping. If there is enough time a great tip is to eat half your evening meal before your run and eat the remainder when you get home. This practical tip works if you have enough time and it may work if you are going for a shorter evening run.


An easy action step to get started

  1.  Look at your diary and pick the day and time of your next long training run, get out a piece of paper and map out a timeline for the day.
  2.  Note down the time you’ll start and finish your run then noted down your usual mealtimes.
  3.  Choose meals which will support the level of your training then if required add in pre and post run snacks.
  4.  We hope that will help you start to develop a habit around planning food around your training requirements.

Download our FREE E book TOP Running Snacks and Nutrient Timing to Fuel Peak Performance


Related Topics:

We have many episodes discussing these areas but the ones I’d suggest you listen to if you’d like a bit more information are:

Nutrition Periodisation For Runners



Food For POST Training


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

A BIG thank you to our Show Sponsor AMAZING JANE ACTIVE WEAR. Please use discount code RHH10 for 10% off ALL purchases at

​Also, when you're ready, here are FOUR ways that we can help you:

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Best Wishes and Happy Running!

Karen and Aileen 

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About the Podcast

She Runs Eats Performs
for mid-life female runners of all abilities
Are you confused about the science around nutrition for runners? Listen in to learn about the WHY, HOW, WHAT, and WHEN of eating to fuel your running performance.

We are here to help you translate sports nutritional science, into easy to apply tips and plans, helping you enjoy peak running performance. We focus on the FEMALE FACTORS every mid-life woman needs to know to be a healthy runner.

About your host

Profile picture for Aileen Smith

Aileen Smith

Nutritionists, Educators, Podcasters, Runners and Friends

We have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living. She Runs Eats Performs for female runners of all abilities who are looking for simple ways to improve their running performance and their health with nutrition and lifestyle.
We enjoy sharing our nutritional expertise, reviewing the latest sports science and most of all helping you to take easy action so you can enjoy your running life to the full.
We are here to help you achieve great health and good shape whilst staying injury-free with easy-to-understand sports nutritional concepts and easy-to-implement tips and plans.

Aileen and Karen are BANT and CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapists.