Nutrition, Foods That Give You Energy

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Energy Boosting Foods

You’ve heard the adage, “You are what you eat.” When it comes to training for upcoming runs, this is 100% true. Your diet is just as important as your daily runs when you’re in training mode. So, it would be best to put as much thought into your meal plans as you put into your workout plans, especially if you knew about these energy-boosting foods!

It should come as no surprise that different foods have different health benefits. Something a little sugary can give you an energy boost during your runs if you plan it right. Similarly, something with some carbs and fiber that burn off slowly can give you more sustained energy.

In any situation, you shouldn’t binge on donuts and sodas if you’re looking to improve your run times and overall health. It’s important to find healthy options that will increase your energy both immediately and over time.

Nutritious Energy-Boosting Foods


Fruits have a good amount of sugar in them naturally. Eating fruit like apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas can give you the same energy boost that you would get from a candy bar. However, they don’t give you the sugar crash that you would get from processed sugar.

To get the most nutritional value out of your fruit, eat the whole fruit instead of juicing it. The pulp and fiber you get from the fruit are also beneficial to your system, and you lose most of that if you juice it.


Tree nuts like cashews, almonds, and pecans contain protein and fiber that can help you recover from a workout. Even legumes like peanuts (often found in store-bought nut mixes) can benefit workout recovery. The faster you recover from your workouts, the better you’ll be in your next activity. Quicker recovery times mean more energy in the long run.

Eating nuts can also benefit your heart. Nuts contain unsaturated fats that are linked to heart health and lowered cholesterol. Since you’re participating in a high-cardio sport, you definitely want a healthy heart!


You don’t want to pound a whole bunch of oatmeal right before a run, but a cup of this energy-boosting food can be a great pre-run breakfast. Oatmeal is filling, and it doesn’t slosh around in your stomach, such as a bowl of cereal would. If you make plain oatmeal, it won’t contain much sugar. Then you can add your own sugar, honey, or fruit to sweeten it up a bit for an added energy boost.

Oats also have numerous health benefits. Because they are so fibrous, they digest slowly, so you don’t get hungry quickly after eating them. You maintain energy for longer after eating oatmeal than you would from eating quick-burning food like fruit or sugary cereal.

Much like eating nuts, eating oatmeal is also linked to heart health. You get twice the bang for your buck if you eat a quick breakfast like an apple and walnut oatmeal!

High Carb Food

As you read more about eating before races, you’ll see “carb loading” mentioned a lot. Carb loading refers to eating more carbohydrate-rich foods in the days leading up to a race than you usually would. When your body processes carbs, it turns them into sugar, which gives you energy.

However, you don’t want to go crazy on high-carb food that’s also super greasy, heavy, or sugary right before a run. The adverse side effects of eating a bunch of junk food outweigh the benefits of carbs. When you’re trying to carb load in the days leading up to a race, plan to eat many foods with natural sugars (like fruits and vegetables) and some light pasta dishes.


When possible, try to combine some healthy food options to get a good mix of energy-boosting food. If you eat the same thing every day, you’re going to get bored and eventually stop eating well. Plan your meals and snacks and look for recipes that are healthy and that taste good.

When you enjoy what you eat, you’re more likely to keep eating it. Likewise, when you eat energy-boosting foods, you’ll feel better and run longer. A lot of runners start their training regimen with aspirations to eat well but fall off when it gets too hard, or they get tired of it. With a little planning, you can eat well throughout your whole training regimen.

A Training Plan that Works for You.

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