Top 8 Pre-Run Snacks

sarah cuff Food for Runners, Recipes for Runners 0 Comments

I’ve talked in previous posts what you might want to consider eating for breakfast before you head out for a run… But what if you’re running middle of day or, more commonly, later in the day?

If it’s about one hour or more before you run, you don’t need to worry too much about what to eat – you have some time for digestion. However, if we’re talking anywhere from 5 minutes to 55 minutes before you begin you’ll want to ensure you’re eating foods that will digest quickly and easily – that means low in fat, protein and fibre. Here are my top 8 snacks you can reach for anywhere within the hour before you head out the door.

1. Cookies!!


What?!! Oops. Sorry, I’m kidding. No cookies. I ate a cookie before going for a run recently. Um. Let’s just say I knew what I was doing so I wasn’t surprised to suffer the consequences. Now, to my defence, it was one of my very own homemade chai cookies (recipe coming soon)…

Okay, let’s try this again. Top 8 snacks to eat before you go for a run:

1. Banana (dipped in chia seeds)


Likely one of my favourites, the banana is a famed runners food. Pure carbohydrates that digest quickly and easily. Dipping it in chia seeds simply gives you the cutting edge 😉

For those who cannot eat bananas or simply do not like them – fear not, there are plenty more options…

2. Puffed Rice (or rice crisps) 

Most cereals contain too much fibre to eat in the hour before you run, but puffed rice or rice crisps are low fibre and easy to digest. Pour yourself a small bowl full and add some almond or coconut milk, a teaspoon of chia seeds and maybe a few berries. Eat. Run.

3. Applesauce with Cinnamon

This is an easy one! Grab one of those little individual size applesauce cups, sprinkle on some cinnamon, eat and go. Applesauce is easier to digest than eating a whole apple is, so you can eat it much closer to run time than you could the full piece of fruit. Cinnamon is one of those lovely ‘superfoods’, known to keep blood sugar levels steady and lower inflammation.

4. Rice Cake with Honey

Rice cakes are not a whole food per se but I do think they have their place. Because they are quickly digested and low in fibre, they make a great snack just before heading out the door for a run.

5. Dates (or raisons)


Dates – natures candy. One date actually contains about 60 calories, so you only need a couple and you should have some quick pre-run energy. I should note that not everyone’s digestive system reacts fabulously to dried fruit, especially just before a run. You likely know who you are already!

6. Energy Drink

Another form of quick energy, ensure you’re reaching for the natural energy drinks (not the bright red, blue or orange ones, if you know what I mean). Try Vega pre-workout energizer – just mix with water, drink and go (I am not affiliated with vega). Or try this lemon-lime chia energy drink.

7. Homemade Energy Bar


The trick with energy bars is to find one that is low in fat and protein. Try this recipe for Pre-Run Energy Bars.

8. Run Gels (or Gummies)

Yes, they are most commonly used during running. But if you need something quick to grab in the 0-15 minutes before you start running, this works very well. My favourite are gummies (can’t eat them while I’m running since chewing while racing just doesn’t work for me, so here’s a great use for them) – and Honey Stingers is my fave brand (I am not affiliated with honey stingers). Take a gel or a few gummies with water and head on out for a great run! Or try this homemade orange chia energy gel. Or this one (espresso).

Do you have a favourite pre-run snack you grab before your mid-day or later-day run? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy running 🙂


Sarah J Cuff, RHN

PS. Check out this weeks special couple profile for Runners of the Week, Lee Ann & Evan – these kids have got it figured out when it comes to eating to run – and are now passing that knowledge on to their kids! Click here to learn how they eat to run

Comments 0

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  4. Great ideas, never thought of rice or puff cereal but this would be good for a non- wheat eater…my hubby will be thrilled to get this treat once in awhile! I’m biking out to the store to buy this, after eating a banana with chia seeds (or hemp). Thank you!

    1. Post

      It’s nice to have many various options – there’s so many more than 8 really, this just adds to the idea list. Nice, love how you fueled your bike ride to the grocery store with a banana with chia (or hemp)!! 🙂

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