Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners

April 15, 2021

Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners

We are going to give you a snap-shot of Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners which we look at in the Eat For Running Results part of the Healthy Woman Healthy Runner Method.

We will be talking about:

1. What do you need to think about when creating your runners food plan?

2. Planning your Food Plate to meet your energy requirements.

3. Practicalities of putting your food plan into action

4. Having some fall-back food plans …. In case food plan A doesn’t work out!

LISTEN HERE HWHR Episode 9 : Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners


Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners


What should we consider when creating our “runners food plan” and what questions do many runners have? In our experience, many runners, feel a bit confused about how to adapt their everyday food plan to meet their training requirements and also to help them enjoy their running, get good results and recovery as well as prevent injury and maybe even support their life phase or an underlying health condition. They are often not sure where to start and what foods and how much food to eat and when to eat those foods!


If you are new to planning food for your running, we suggest planning and scheduling your run training in your diary as a starting point ideally for a week ahead. This information is going to inform you of what your food and fueling requirements are for your training and then you can consider the practicalities around what you are able to prepare and eat within the best time frames.


Understanding about why the time of day will influence what you choose to eat in relation to your run training plans. For example, choosing to run in a fasted state is best when it’s an early morning easy paced run under 90 minutes or planning meals giving enough time to digest food before a run.


Choosing what to eat to support different types of run training.

  • For runs under 90 minutes or in the 10k – it’s likely that everyday foundational nutrition will be adequate for your requirements.
  • For speed/technical running, you may require a snack BEFORE training even if training is short and early morning as you will be burning more CHO than fat and glycogen stores are reduced in the morning following an overnight fast.
  • When you’re running for longer distances for a longer duration of time you’ll need to start adapting your energy intake across your day and consider your requirements for fueling during your runs and for post run recovery
  • It’s likely that you’ll require more energy from carbohydrate at your meal-times and also have requirements for taking on board carbohydrate during your training runs as well as having a post run snack
  • Your total Energy Requirements are personalized to your body composition as well as your training requirements – which is something we help you with in the HWHR method


Get access to our Free Nutrition Guide to help you make pre, during and post food choices – please click the link the bottom of page.


How do you know how much to eat i.e. energy in vs energy out? We suggest calculating your energy requirements based on BMR plus activity factors and personalising your food requirements accordingly to your run training plan.


Some insights into using different athlete food plates for different levels of training as an alternative to complex measurements of macros and calories.


We consider the practicalities of putting your food plan into action from time saving ideas to making conscious decisions. We suggest you give your food planning the same priority as the intention you put into deciding what training you’re going to do on a particular day. Remember we are focusing on helping you to “Eat For Running Results” or at the very least make your running easier and you less injury prone … so focus on that rather than I don’t feel like planning my food!


Having a fallback food plan for the days with plan A doesn’t work out. Let’s be real! Life can get in the way sometimes so having alternatives in mind can support your overall nutrition plan.


Food Planning Tips for Busy Runners

  1. Every week, plan and schedule your run training – consider what days, time of day, type/duration of run training and distances you’ll cover on each day.
  2. Do some upfront food planning – create your favourite healthy meals and snacks for running days, write a shopping list and stock up.
  3. Calculate your energy requirements based on BMR and activity/training you plan to do and adapt your food plan to meet your personal requirements – an easy way to do this is to use our athlete food plates.
  4. Consider if there is any advance food preparation you can do to save time on the days you are doing run training e.g. bulk/batch preparation.
  5. Make conscious decisions about what ACTUAL food choices you’ll make – ideally a day ahead at the latest.
  6. Have a fall-back food plan for the days that your Plan A doesn’t happen.
  7. Focus on “Eating For Running Results” or at the very least eating to make your running easier and you less injury prone.

Related Episodes:

Smart Food for Healthy Runners

In a Runners Kitchen

Healthy Fast Food For Runners


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.

Remember we are available to support you if required contact us at hello@

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