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Running Nutrition Guide

Nutrition plays a key role in supporting all areas of running, including weekly mileage, races, recovery and training adaptations. Matching the correct nutritional intake to the individual requirements of these situations can result in optimal performance.

The main goals of performance nutrition

The main goals of performance nutrition are:

  • To fuel for the work required in training
  • To promote recovery and drive training adaptations following sessions
  • To fuel for and recover on race day


Key consideration: Fuel for training

When race-day comes around there is no doubt that carbohydrate will be the preferred fuel for running and it is important to prepare for this by practising and refining your race-day nutrition strategies in training. However, within training given you will undertake some higher intensity sessions as well as some lower intensity sessions the energy contribution fuelling each of these sessions will therefore differ. This means that during your high intensity based sessions, like interval sessions, carbohydrates will provide a greater percentage contribution to overall energy production whilst during those long steady low intensity runs fats will provide a greater contribution to energy.

As a result, nutrition for running training should be based on the specific session you are going to undertake and the desired training effect, with a well-designed training week including the following sessions:

• Low-intensity or recovery runs with reduced or restricted carbohydrate availability
• High-intensity intervals fuelled by carbohydrates
• A key race-day session where the full fuelling plan for your race-day is practised

Your high-intensity intervals and hill sessions will be carbohydrate dependent, meaning that you need carbohydrate in the working muscle to use as energy. Depending on the timing of this session, including a carbohydrate source with your meals during the day and topping up with a snack (SiS GO Energy Bake or SiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews) 60 minutes before the session is advised. 

Whereas, easy miles and recovery runs can be fuelled using our own body fat stores, before breakfast is a good time to do these runs. Having a coffee before you get out in the runners can lower the perception of effort and make the session feel easier.

Key consideration: Train as you race

It is important to have a endurance running nutrition plan going into your chosen race and testing this out in training with one ‘train as you race’ session per week is essential for the following reasons:

Pre-run meal:

Breakfast acts as a key meal on the day of your event, to top up energy stores and ensure you are fully fuelled for the start line. Your breakfast should reflect this and include normal breakfast food: cereals, toast, bagels, jam, fruit juice and even including energy drinks like SiS Beta Fuel or SiS GO energy within this meal is a simple way to top up energy stores if you don’t feel like eating too much. Breakfast should be 1-3 hours before the start to allow for full digestion and prevent any chances of gastrointestinal distress while running. It is vitally important to test your race-day breakfast in training to ensure it works for you.

During the run:

Your body can only store enough carbohydrate for 60-90 minutes of hard running, therefore, eating as you go is key. Aim to take in 60 g of carbohydrate per hour from a range of sources (1) using the likes of SiS Isotonic GO gels, SiS Beta Fuel gels, SiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews, SiS Beta Fuel energy drink and SiS GO energy drink. Fuelling should start in the first hour – if you wait until you are tired to start eating this is often too late.


Your fluid requirements will be dependent on sweat rate, but aim not to lose greater than 2-3% body mass as a result of sweat loss(2). Using SiS GO Hydro tablets can also further promote your hydration as SiS GO Hydro tablets meet your sodium requirements at a specific concentration (30 mmol/L) that is scientifically proven to produce superior hydration compared with water alone.


Hard racing depletes muscle glycogen stores, causes muscle damage and results in fluid loss. Your recovery nutrition should therefore focus on both carbohydrate and protein intake to replenish muscle glycogen and repair muscle damage and fluid and electrolytes should be provided to aid rehydration. SiS REGO Rapid Recovery is an ideal option to kick start your recovery immediately after a session or race by providing an all in one recovery solution that provides protein for muscle repair, carbohydrate to replenish glycogen stores and electrolytes to aid with hydration stores.

Below is an example nutrition guide for your ‘Train as you Race’ session:

Race day Key consideration: Carbohydrate loading Our body has limited carbohydrate stores to use as energy on race-day. To maximise storage, carbohydrate intake can be increased in the 24-48 hours before race-day. To do this, increase the carbohydrate portion size with each meal, use carbohydrate snacks between meals and drink carbohydrate drinks during the day. Aim for 8-10 g of carbohydrate per kilo body mass per day of your carb-load(1, 4). The below plan provides an example of how a runner could load with ~550g of carbohydrate:Key Consideration: Pre Race Breakfast: Have your normal race-day breakfast 1-3 hours before your start time. You should practise this in training through your ‘train as you race’ session, including cereals, toast, jam, fruit juice, energy drinks like SiS Beta Fuel or SiS GO energy. Travel, race-day stress and logistics can cause other distractions on the day of your event, so knowing what you’re going to eat and being comfortable with this is going to get you to the start line in the best shape! Hydration: The morning of your event you should aim to have 5-10 ml of fluid per kilo body mass (~350-700 ml for a 70 kg runner) in the hours before starting(4). This can be split between coffee and fruit juice with breakfast and 1 x SiS GO Hydro tablets in 500 ml water as you travel to the event. Snacking: A pre-race snack can be used as a final carbohydrate source, having a banana, SiS GO Energy Bake, SiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews or SiS Beta Fuel + Nootropics energy gel 30-60 minutes before starting. The SiS Beta Fuel + Nootropics energy gel can be especially helpful in preparation for race as consuming it 45 minutes before the start of your race will enhance your mental and physical performance given it contains carbohydrate to maintain optimum physical performance and nootropics to maintain peak cognitive performance such as attention, focus and motivation. Key Consideration: During the Race Your focus should be on hydration and energy during the race. Having a running nutrition plan going into the event, that you have practised in training, will give you the best chance to enjoy the day. The tables below provide an example nutrition plan for a marathon or half marathon: Key consideration: Recovery Racing depletes muscle glycogen stores, causes muscle damage and results in fluid loss. Your recovery nutrition should therefore focus on both carbohydrates and protein. SiS REGO Rapid Recovery can be used within 30 minutes of finishing a race to provide carbohydrates and protein to kick-start the recovery process. Follow the below points for your optimal post-race recovery:

  • SiS REGO Rapid Recovery shake immediately post-run
  • Carbohydrate based meal with protein and vegetables within 2-3 hours of finishing
  • Replace 150% of fluid lost in the 2-4 hours post-run and use SiS GO Hydro tablets if you are a heavy sweater
  • SiS REGO Cherry Juice can further promote recovery by aiding your muscle recovery by reducing the onset of muscle soreness, reducing your joint inflammation and pain, and even improving the quality of your sleep by increasing melatonin levels.


  • Burke, L. M., Hawley, J. A., Wong, S. H., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2011). Carbohydrates for training and competition. Journal of sports sciences, 29(sup1), S17-S27.
  • Casa, D. J., DeMartini, J. K., Bergeron, M. F., Csillan, D., Eichner, E. R., Lopez, R. M. & Yeargin, S. W. (2015). National Athletic Trainers’ Association position statement: exertional heat illnesses. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(9), 986-1000.
  • Baker, L. B., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2014). Optimal composition of fluid‐replacement beverages. Comprehensive Physiology, 4, 575-630
  • Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the academy of nutrition and dietetics, dietitians of Canada, and the american college of sports medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501-528.
Pre Training During your runs Post Training
Hydration Start the run in a hydrated state. Drink 5-10 in the hours pre-run. For example, a 70 kg runner would have ~350-700 ml of fluid to pre-hydrate(4). Use GO Electrolyte (for additional carbohydrate too) or  SiS GO Hydro tablets to increase fluid retention. Work out how much you are sweating (per hour) and try not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass through sweat loss(2). Include SiS GO Hydro tablets to promote hydration. To ensure you are fully recovered to train again, aim to replace 150% of the fluid lost through sweating(3). Use SiS GO Hydro tablets to promote rehydration if you are a particularly heavy sweater.
Energy Your pre-run meal should be 1-3 of carbohydrate. For a 70 kg runner this would be 70-210 g of carbohydrate 1-3 hours pre-run(1, 4). Include high carbohydrate foods such as cereal, toast, bagels, jam, rice, pasta and fruit. Aim for 60 g of carbohydrate per hour from a range of sources such as,  SiS Isotonic GO gels, SiS Beta Fuel gelsSiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews, SiS Beta Fuel energy drink and SiS GO energy drink.

For example 1 x SiS Isotonic GO gel and 1 x pack Beta Fuel Energy Chews per hour.

Carbohydrate is one of the most important nutrients in recovery as we will have used energy during the run. Include a carbohydrate source in your post-run recovery shake like SiS REGO Rapid Recovery and have a carbohydrate-based meal 2-3 hours post-run.
Recovery Ensure that you rest well between sessions as this is where adaptations take place. Overtraining is common in endurance athletes. Aim to get the same amount of sleep throughout your training period. N/A Post-run recovery starts straight after you’ve finished. Kick-start the recovery process with a carbohydrate protein blend such as  SiS REGO Rapid Recovery. Follow this with a carbohydrate-based meal 2-3 hours later, including protein and plenty of vegetables.
Meal Food Source Carbohydrate
Breakfast 2 cups of cereal, two slices of white toast, thick spread of jam and a glass of fruit juice. 150 g


SiS GO Energy Bake 30 g
Lunch 2 toasted bagels, choice of filling 90 g
Afternoon 500 ml SiS Beta Fuel energy drink 80 g
Dinner 2 cups of cooked white pasta, chicken breast, tomato-based sauce, 2 slices of garlic bread 130 g
Snack 1 tin of rice pudding + SiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews 95 g
Hydration Aim not to lose more than 2-3% of your body mass via sweat loss(2). This usually means consuming 500 ml of fluid per hour depending on sweat rate, temperature and humidity – drinking additional fluids as needed.
Energy Aim for 60 g of carbohydrate per hour from a range of sources including SiS Isotonic GO gels, SiS Beta Fuel gelsSiS Beta Fuel Energy Chews, SiS Beta Fuel energy drink and SiS GO energy drink and remember to  fuel from the first hour. Alongside fluid intake, an hour of fuel could be 1 x SiS Isotonic GO gel and 1 x pack Beta Fuel Energy Chews. Use SiS caffeine gels or SiS Beta Fuel + Nootropics energy gel towards the last hour of the race to get that extra boost.
Written By

Ben Samuels

Ben is a Performance Nutritionist at Science in Sport