What to eat for breakfast before running

title of post over image of banana slices and peanut butter on toast

As a runner, you know how important it is to fuel your body properly before hitting the pavement. A good breakfast before running can provide the energy you need to power through your workout and help prevent fatigue and muscle breakdown. But what should you be eating? Here are some tips for a great prerun breakfast for runners.

Carbohydrates are key.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your body during exercise, so it’s essential to have a good source of carbs in your breakfast before running. Aim for complex carbs, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which will provide sustained energy throughout your run.

In one of my favorite running Facebook groups, I recently asked what everyone’s favorite breakfast ideas were. Not surprisingly, many people shared ideas that included complex carbs. Oatmeal with milk and honey, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and banana with peanut butter and coffee were all popular answers.

Avoid high-fat and high-protein meals.

While protein and healthy fats are important for overall health, they can slow down digestion and make you feel sluggish during your run. Avoid heavy meals with lots of meat, cheese, or fried foods before a run.

Getting in some high quality protein after your run can be an effective way to ensure you are getting enough protein and help with recovery. Eggs and sourdough toast were a popular suggestion in the running group I’m in. Here’s a post with ideas for protein powders for runners.

Time your meal properly.

The timing of your breakfast before running can also affect your performance. You want to eat at least an hour before you run to allow for digestion, but not so far in advance that you start to feel hungry during your workout. Experiment with the timing to see what works best for you.

While some runners prefer to go fasted or with just a cup of coffee prerun, it’s not something I suggest. It’s generally best to eat about an hour before your run. Having a decent meal the night before a long run was another tip shared in the runner’s group.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before your run. Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, and dizziness, so make sure you’re properly hydrated before you hit the pavement.

Try to drink water throughout the day and at least 8 oz in the hour before starting your run. Staying hydrated throughout the day will help you stay completely hydrated without the risk of needing to go to the bathroom midrun.

Ideas for breakfasts before running.

Some great options for prerun breakfasts include oatmeal with fruit and nuts, a smoothie made with yogurt and berries, whole-grain toast with peanut butter and banana, or a veggie omelet with whole-grain toast. Aim for a meal that’s high in complex carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat.

My favorite pre-run breakfasts are peanut butter on toast with a banana, a couple eggs with toast, or whole milk greek yogurt with berries and pecans mixed in. I also opt for a cup of coffee and a glass of water for a boost of hydration and caffeine.


In conclusion, a good breakfast before running is essential for runners. Carbohydrates are key, avoid high-fat and high-protein meals, time your meal properly, hydrate, and aim for a breakfast that’s high in complex carbs, moderate in protein, and low in fat. Experiment with different options to find the one that works best for you and your body. Happy running!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis. You should consult with your doctor before changing your diet or starting supplements for any health condition.

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