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Top 5 Foods to Eat Before a Run

What you eat before you run can make a big impact on both your performance and the way that you feel on the run. Figuring out what exactly to eat can be tricky and it often takes trial and error to see what foods work best for your body. I reached out to local registered dietitian Carly Siceloff to get her take on the top five foods to eat before a run.

1. Oatmeal 


Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate and your body relies primarily on carbohydrates as fuel during intense exercise. Not into oatmeal, any other complex carbohydrate will do such as whole grain bread, apples, sweet potatoes, etc.

2. Peanut Butter or Any Nut Butter


Nut butters provide a good amount of pre-workout protein that is easy to digest. Bonus: if you combine a complex carb with protein it will keep you feeling satisfied and assist in muscle recovery. So add some peanut butter to your oatmeal or apple!

3. Bananas


Bananas are not only an excellent source of carbohydrates but also a natural source of potassium, a key electrolyte. Maintaining electrolyte concentrations helps with muscle contractions, fluid balance and blood pressure.

4. Beets


This one is for fun but researchers at Saint Louis University found that eating cooked beets may lead to speed gains and improve running performance. Worth a try! (Murphy, M., Eliot, K., Heuertz, R. M., & Weiss, E. (2012). Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(4), 548-552.)

5. Water

While water is not a food and does not provide energy, it does play a major role in how nutrients interact and function in your body. Staying hydrated prevents cramping and regulates body temperature.

Carly Siceloff is a registered dietitian who lives in Charlotte's South End neighborhood with her husband Tony. She works full-time as a consultant for Morrison Healthcare and spends her days analyzing nutrients and building menu databases for hospital accounts. Carly enjoys CrossFit, Flybarre, hot yoga, traveling, blogging at and protecting the planet. 

What are your favorite pre-run foods? Do you have a go-to snack or meal?