A 3-Day Meal Plan for Runners

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Figuring out how to fuel your training is what most athletes think about when it comes to dialing performance nutrition. However, what you eat for normal daily meals needs to be mastered before you can move on to the specifics of training nutrition. Your general diet is what keeps you healthy, energized, focused and in proper energy balance each and every day.

Things to consider when deciding what to eat each day include: how much energy (calories) your body needs every day, volume of training and timing of training sessions. When making a meal plan, aim to plug in your training sessions first. This way you can plug nutrition needs around those training sessions including pre/during/recovery fuel, then fill in the rest of your day’s intake.

Day 1 (speed work)

  • 5 a.m. banana and sport drink
  • 6 a.m. 6 mile run with speedwork
  • 7:30 a.m. recovery glass of chocolate milk
  • 9 a.m. breakfast: bowl of oatmeal with one scoop protein powder, berries and almond butter
  • 12 p.m. bowl of broth-based soup and salad
  • 3:30 p.m. apple and cottage cheese
  • 5 p.m. weightlifting/ strength session
  • 6:30 p.m. pasta with tomato sauce
  • 8 p.m. piece of dark chocolate

Key notes: This day starts out with food to support the morning fast run, places the bulk of vegetables away from workouts and ends with a carbohydrate-rich meal to prep for tomorrow’s training.

Day 2 (long run)

  • 7 a.m. bagel and nut butter with a banana and small vanilla latte
  • 9:30 a.m. long run of 2-plus hours; bring water and gels along
  • 12 p.m. recovery smoothie of almond milk, chocolate whey, banana and tart cherries
  • 1 p.m. burrito bowl with protein source, rice, veggies and guacamole
  • 4 p.m. apple and oatmeal cookie
  • 7 p.m. roasted salmon, potatoes and broccoli with a yogurt-tahini sauce
  • 8 p.m. glass of wine or beer

Key notes: Make sure to give yourself enough food early in the day to support the endurance run and recovery from it, then back to vegetables later in the day.

Day 3 (rest day)

  • 8 a.m. whole grain toast with eggs and avocado
  • 12 p.m. tofu stir fry with peppers, onions, broccoli and oranges
  • 3 p.m. Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
  • 6 p.m. massaged kale salad with beets, brown rice and grilled chicken
  • 8 p.m. piece of dark chocolate

Key notes: Just because you are taking a day off from running doesn’t mean your body stops needing to be nourished. Eat high quality, whole foods on this day to replenish energy stores and promote recovery for the next day.

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