Kristen Arnold sports dietitian cycling coach Team USA Sports Director

Author Profile: Kristen Arnold

Kristen Arnold MS, RDN, CSSD sports dietitian, cycling coach, Team USA Sports Director
IG: @sportsnutritionforwomen

Fueling for a Great Run Every Time

Having a great run starts and ends with optimal nutrition strategies. When the body and brain have the right amount and type of fuel on board, they will perform their best. Whether you're going out for a quick jog or gearing up for a marathon, understanding how to time your fueling can positively impact your performance and overall well-being.


Pre-Run Nutrition

Dialing in the right timing and the right foods for you pre-run can make all the difference in a fun and fast workout. This meal provides the body and brain with sustained energy and hydration for your run. The International Olympic Committee recommends having 2 to 4 g of carbohydrate per kilogram bodyweight 2 to 4 hours before any run over 60 minutes. For a 150 pound athlete this will be 130 to 270 g 4 hours pre-run. If this sounds like a lot of carbs, remember that you can work up to this recommendation over time by slowly increasing the amount/volume of carbohydrate-rich foods in this pre-run meal. Getting a mix of different types of carbohydrate-rich foods can also make it easier to meet these recommendations. For example, have a bagel with jam, a banana, and orange juice to get four different sources of carbohydrates and make it easier to eat and digest. Make sure to also include some fat and protein-rich foods for sustained energy. Try easy to digest foods like nut butter, eggs, and Greek yogurt. If you frequently have issues with side stitches (sharp pain in your abdomen area at the onset of running due to food and fluid sitting in the intestines), consider eating your pre-run meal further out from the start of your run, closer to 3 or 4 hours. This will allow your tummy more time to digest your food and fuel for your run. Even if you were planning to run for a short time such as under one hour, still make sure to get a carbohydrate rich meal or snack before you run.

Incorporating a pre-run snack can help to supply the blood with glucose (quick energy), spare glycogen (stored carbohydrates), and energize your run, according to the recommendations of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Chargel gel drinks are an ideal pre-run snack as they include beneficial carbohydrates to energize your run and some fluid to help quench your thirst. If you are going out for a quick high intensity run, even swishing around some of the gel drink in your mouth and spitting it out may help to energize you run (Rollo et al 2015).

 Post run nutrition chargel running endurance fuel

Post-Run Nutrition

A quick and easy post-run snack rich in carbohydrates, protein, and fluid can help to support muscle protein synthesis, replenish glycogen stores, get you back into good hydration status, boost the immune system, and provide lasting energy throughout the day according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Concerns of the Female Athlete Position Stand. Ideally, this snack is eaten as soon as possible after your run especially if you are completing another type of exercise later that day. The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends 20-40g of high quality protein with 1-1.2g carbohydrates per kilogram body weight (68-82g carbohydrate for a 150lb athlete) for rapid glycogen replenishment and muscle protein synthesis. Using Chargel gel drinks can be a great snack to help meet your carbohydrate and fluid needs post exercise. 1.5 Chargel gel drinks contain 68g carbohydrates. Some research suggests that simple carbohydrates can more efficiently replenish glycogen stores compared to complex carbohydrates, making Chargel gel drinks an ideal post run snack (Murray et al 2018). Pair a Chargel gel drink with a bit of extra water and Greek yogurt or a protein shake to check all post-run recovery boxes.

Whether you are a competitive and seasoned runner or the occasional jogger, focusing on your nutrition habits can improve your overall performance, health, and well-being. Make 2024 your fastest most fun year yet!

Post run nutrition chargel running endurance fuel