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PERFORMANCE ENERGY

NUTRITION FOR
RUNNING

Carbohydrates are the ultimate running fuel, providing energy to muscles while preventing blood sugar levels from dropping. Whether you’re tackling a fun run or an ultramarathon, optimizing carb intake can help boost performance and recovery.

Before

Before a long run, eat a snack to recharge your batteries. Ideally, reach for something that’s mainly carbohydrates with modest amounts of fiber, fat, and protein. If you’re going for a jog or running for less than an hour, drink plenty of water.

CARBOHYDRATES

Sustain Energy

TIMING

1–2 Hours Before a Run

During

During intense runs lasting more than 1 hour, performance foods like gels and chews provide fast-acting carbohydrates (quick energy) to working muscles, helping to prevent the dreaded “bonk.” 

Stay hydrated with 4–6 ounces of fluid every 15–20 minutes. Reach for water or try sports drinks to help replace sodium lost in sweat.

CARBOHYDRATES

Deliver Quick Energy

TIMING

30–60 g of Carbohydrates / Hour

After

After a long run, drink plenty of water and focus on foods and drinks with carbohydrates and complete protein (like meat, dairy, and soy). Carbohydrates help restore muscle-energy stores (glycogen), while protein encourages muscle repair.

PROTEIN +
CARBOHYDRATES

Repair & Restore

TIMING

Within 30 Minutes

After
Product Recommendations

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“WHEN PUSHING HARD FOR HOURS, FUEL VARIETY IS KEY IN ULTRAMARATHONS. CLIF BAR PROVIDES A FULL ARRAY OF FLAVORS AND TEXTURES FOR CARBOHYDRATES, SO THERE’S NO CHANCE OF PALATE FATIGUE. I USE A MIX OF CLIF® SHOT®, CLIF® BLOKS™, AND CLIF BAR® TO FIND THE SOURCE OF STRENGTH I DIDN’T THINK I HAD.”

— Scott Jurek, ultrarunner and Clif athlete

Check out our Active Nutrition Guide, a science-backed tool designed to help professionals customize nutrition recommendations for active people based on exercise intensity and duration.

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