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Fast Food for Runners

The team at Matt Gleed Personal Training have got some great Nutrition tips to help with your running schedule.


The original snack food, readily available and requiring no preparation, the banana is the healthy equivalent of fast food. It is ideal for rapid refuelling and comes in its own biodegradable wrapper!

For slower-release energy, choose greener fruit, whereas if you’re after more of a quick energy ‘hit’ then get browner, riper fruit, as the different colour indicates that the banana has more fruit sugar— which makes it better for a post-run snack.

Oatmeal porridge

The number one breakfast food, porridge basically consists of unprocessed oats— and little else. If made with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, it will provide the optimum mix of protein, fibre and slow-release energy.

Whether you’re eating it pre-race, pre-training run or — even better still — as a regular daily starter, you can’t beat the original breakfast food to get you going each morning. Watch out for porridge look-alikes, though, such as instant varieties or oaty-type cereals, because although they are a far healthier option than many sugar-laden cereals, they are a less suitable choice than pure and simple porridge.

Other breakfast cereals

Second best to porridge but still excellent runner’s foods are other breakfast cereals such as muesli and wheat biscuits.

Providing you check the ingredients list for added sugar and fat, there are many cereals that can be consumed as excellent pre-event foods.

Try to avoid sugar-coated-type cereals and many of the varieties that are marketed towards children, though, because nutritionally they are extremely poor and will not prepare you in the morning for your training or race.

Lean meat and fish

By avoiding the fatty cuts of meat and concentrating on skinless, low-fat varieties, or alternatively fish, you’ll be providing your body with the necessary building blocks for repair.

For a runner in heavy training, as much as 1.5g of protein per kg (0.6g per lb) of bodyweight may need to be consumed per day — which is a lot to get through, so you’ll need to work at keeping your protein intake at the correct level.

Try to include protein with each meal, and focus on animal types over vegetable proteins because animal proteins are complete, containing the full complement of amino acids needed by the human body, whereas vegetable proteins are incomplete, and are missing some amino acids. 

Fruit and vegetables

Everyone should be focusing on a minimum of the five-a-day fruit and veg strategy — but runners should try to get even more, because their energy and overall nutrition requirements are greater.

Choose darker varieties, as they contain more nutrients — for example, broccoli has far more iron in it than iceberg lettuce.

If you would like the team at Matt Gleed Personal Training to look over your food intake with a food diary then please contact us info@mattgleed.com and we will send you prepared sheets to complete.

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