One of my guiltiest pleasures that I adopted from a coworker of mine is to indulge in a huge bowl of mac and cheese (realistically the whole box — but who’s keeping track, right?) after a long run or race. In my opinion, there’s no better way to celebrate my hard work than slurping up a delicious bowl of carb-y cheesey goodness.
Certainly after a 10+ mile run or tough race, it’s easy to justify celebrating through an indulgent meal like creamy mac and cheese, but what about your day to day average runs? Fueling and nutrition is an important part of your training and recovery, so why not enjoy what you eat before and after?
I asked the runners in our office for their favorite pre and post-run snacks that helps make the grueling miles all the more worth it.
[PRE-RUN] Toasted English Muffin with Peanut Butter, Honey and Bananas
This kitchen-staples ensemble of warm and crispy bread, creamy peanut butter, sugary syrup and melt in your mouth bananas is a great assortment of all your carb, protein and sugar needs before you set out for your run. Loading it up on the english muffin is a good way to portion control (they really are the perfect size) and the peanut butter and bananas give you a boost of slow-burning carb and sugars to fuel your run.
[PRE-RUN] A Shot of Espresso and a Bowl of Cottage Cheese with Fruit
For some, cottage cheese is not the most appealing of foods. But this low calorie, protein and calcium-filled cheese curd dish is a popular choice for many runners. If you can’t get over the texture, though, it’s just as effective to substitute it with a bowl of plain greek yogurt.
The caffeine in the espresso not only acts as a little pick-me-up before an early morning or afternoon run, it’s also a great mild stimulant for your muscles to help boost athletic performance.
[PRE or POST-RUN] Chocolate-Nut Protein Smoothie
This one is a two-fer for a hot summer day: cool down with this refreshing smoothie as well as load up on digestion friendly protein and sugars before or after your run. The only words of caution here: give yourself enough time to digest if you’re planning to enjoy this treat before your run. This liquid heavy meal replacement will slosh around in your stomach making you feel ill if you don’t give yourself enough time to settle.
What you’ll need:
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
5 Pitted Dates
6 Brazil Nuts
7 Macadamia Nuts
4-8 oz. Almond Milk (unsweetened)
1 Cup Ice
[POST-RUN] A Glass of Chocolate Milk
Takes you back, doesn’t it? This nostalgic and delicious treat is perfect for an easy post-run snack before you get showered and have time to prepare a full meal. Right after your run is the perfect time to indulge in a glass of chocolate milk for a sugar and carbohydrate kick. It’s also a great alternative to eating solids which some people find difficult to eat right after exercising.
[POST-RUN] Whole Wheat Tortilla Quesadi-zza
Besides mac and cheese, this one is my personal favorite. It’s slightly larger and more filling than a traditional snack, so treat this as a light meal after your run. The oozing warm cheese and delicious marinara sauce satisfies salt and hot foot cravings, as well as providing a healthy balance of carbs and protein.
What are your favorite pre or post run snacks? Let us know in the comments below!
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