Running Injuries: Food Planning for Prevention

May 4, 2023

Running Injuries: Food Planning for Prevention

Probably most of us have experienced an injury at some point!! And when you have been injured, and then recovered, you just don’t want to go there again!! because it is frustrating and debilitating and painful of course!! AND more often than not, it takes you away from your running for a period of time, which means that you have to go “back to the beginning” when returning to training.

Most of us will have heard the phrase “Prevention is better than cure” So, if you have been injured in the past and want to limit the risk of getting injured again – or maybe you haven’t ever been injured and want to optimise your food plan so it doesn’t ever happen – read on because we discuss:

    1. What you need to think about when considering a food plan to support injury prevention
    2. Our suggestions for meals and snacks to help prevent injury
    3. A one-day meal plan for you to introduce to your food plan to get you started

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Running Injuries: Food Planning for Prevention


Introducing the fundamental food and dietary considerations when thinking about injury prevention.

Most injuries are associated with and influenced by inflammation. One dietary approach to injury prevention, which has been well researched for its beneficial effects on health is the Mediterranean Diet (MD). Since the 60’s many studies have shown an association between the MD diet and a lower prevalence and incidence of many immune driven chronic illnesses including: cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and neurodegenerative disorders.

The Mediterranean Diet contains primarily:

  • Plant-based foods
  • Low GL whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Herbs & spices
  • Essential fatty acids such as olive oil, olives, fish & seafood (which feature frequently in meals)

The Mediterranean Diet contains limited amounts of:

  • Meat – it is present in only a few meals (generally for fiestas, lamb being the preferred meat)
  • Dairy products – consumed in moderation. When eaten it is often fresh cheese from the milk of ewes or goats
  • Red wine – but it is included!

The Mediterranean Diet does not feature:

  • Processed foods
  • Ready-made meals

The Mediterranean Diet is fundamentally NATURAL AND REAL FOOD!! So, introducing the Mediterranean Diet approach to eating using the Athlete’s Plate concept to guide portion sizes and macronutrient distribution would be an excellent starting point in reducing the risk and potentially preventing the development of a running-induced injury.


Outlining some additional dietary fundamentals to consider to help prevent a running injury occurring including:

  • Eating strategically (food timing)
  • Appropriate Eating – not too much and not too little

These topics are interlinked because it is about eating the correct AMOUNT OF FOOD and TYPE OF FOODS at the CORRECT TIME daily but also strategically around your training to help limit the risk of an injury occurring.


Introducing the KEY nutrients required to help prevent a running injury occurring including:

Carbohydrate – as the principal nutrient for energy production

Protein – to maintain muscle mass and support muscle repair, recovery and remodelling from training

Fats – the essential fats for their anti-inflammatory properties

Calcium – in tandem with Vitamin D for promoting bone health and bone formation therefore potentially reducing the risk of stress fracture

Magnesium – for muscle relaxation, thus helping prevent muscle tightness, muscle spasms and cramping, which can be painful and lead to a more prolonged injury

Vitamin C – which is a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient through its antioxidant properties that is, it is able to neutralise cell damaging free radicals, which are released during exercise

Phytonutrients – for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

Collagen – the key component of ALL soft tissue and connective tissue therefore essential for injury prevention


Giving some of our breakfast and lunch ideas to help prevent injury including:


  1. A juice or smoothie with added ginger or turmeric
  2. Overnight oats with berries, nuts, and seeds, and Kefir
  3. Yoghurt and berries with nuts and seeds
  4. Flaxseed crackers with smashed avocado
  5. Tofu or egg scramble with breakfast vegetables 


  1. Chicken broth (bone broth) on its own or add to other ingredients to make a heartier soup
  2. Rainbow salad (Poké or Buddha Bowl) containing lots and lots of different colourful salad vegetables accompanied with some brown rice and a salmon fillet, chicken, mackerel or sardines
  3. Potluck soup using whatever vegetables are in the fridge. Just add a protein source of choice and maybe some herbs and spices


Giving some of our dinner and snack ideas to help prevent injury including:


  1. Stir fry containing vegetables such as; sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn, mushrooms, bok choy, and peppers. Add a protein source of your choice for example; prawns, chicken, tempeh, tofu and serve with brown rice noodles or some steamed brown rice and a leafy green salad on the side
  2. Mixed vegetable omelette or a vegetable frittata and serve with a mixed salad
  3. Mixed roasted vegetables with baked eggs served with a tomato and leaf salad


  1. Dried apricots – use strategically around run training
  2. Blackstrap molasses – use strategically around run training
  3. Dark chocolate
  4. Cottage cheese or hummus with vegetable sticks or one to two oatcakes
  5. Strawberries with Greek yoghurt
  6. Packet of seaweed wafers
  7. Small portion of nuts


Outlining a one-day meal plan to help prevent a running injury:

Breakfast – Berries with kefir topped with nuts and seeds

Lunch – Bone broth soup with added vegetables and chicken

Dinner – Stir fry with tempeh and brown rice noodles

Snacks – Morning: seaweed wafers. Afternoon: handful of nuts


Running Injuries: Food Planning for Prevention

Consider introducing that Mediterranean Diet approach to eating into your meal plan REGULARLY. Try adapting one of your meals initially and then, over time, convert your other meals so they too follow the Mediterranean approach.

Introducing the Mediterranean Diet to your food plan could support your health, wellbeing and your running goals in many ways, not just in injury prevention if introduced CONSISTENTLY.

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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.

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