Yes, it would be great to have a wonderful, nutritious, light meal 2 hours before my run. But… that doesn’t always happen. When I’ve got to go for a run, but my stomach is grumbling, I reach for one of these pre-run snacks as I gather my running gear.

*This post is part of the January New Runner series. Check out the tag “newbie” for more posts and the free ebook New Runner Essentials.*

7 quick pre-run snacks before your run so you don't die from hunger

Before you hit the pavement (to run or due to hunger… either way works here), grab a quick snack. Fasting before a workout can leave you feeling miserable and can actually inhibit hormones necessary for protein synthesis (muscle building). Check out this interview with Barbara Casaceli RD, LDN on fueling and running.

7 Pre-Run Snacks

1. Piece of toast with jelly or honey

Or, I like a bit of butter and garlic salt. If you have a sensitive stomach, I’d avoid peanut butter. The fats in it are harder to digest (especially on the run) and can make your stomach upset.

2. A Pop-Tart

I don’t eat a lot of boxed, processed food, but the sugary, carb-y goodness of a Pop-tart can fuel me for a hard run even after I’ve missed lunch.

3. A handful of crackers or tortilla chips

Something about the salt and carbs makes me feel good right before a run.

7 Quick Pre-Run Snacks, including bananas

Not all of these bananas

4. Half of a banana

Or a whole banana if your stomach can handle it.

5. Half of a bagel

More bread! Bread carbs seem to sit light in the stomach.

6. Animal crackers or graham crackers

If you prefer sweeter foods. My husband would laugh at me for calling animal and graham crackers ‘sweet’.

7. Sports drinks

The carbs and electrolytes that fuel you during a run, can also fuel you before a run.

Snacks to avoid

To avoid upset stomach, you may want to avoid excessive:

  1. Dairy
  2. Acids
  3. Fiber
  4. Fats

Why not stop to eat?

Eat a quick snack, enough to get you out the door for your run, so you can eat a meal when you get back.

If you eat a meal before you run, you’ll probably want to digest it a bit, which will mean turning on Netflix, which will mean chilling for the rest of the evening with a glass of wine (…speaking from experience…)

Get out there and get your run done!


  1. Runner’s World: More pre-run snacks based on length of your run
  2. Runners Connect: How to practice timing your pre-run food
  3. Outside Online: Some unique pre-run foods including burritos and waffles

What are you munching on as you tie your laces?

(or am I the only one still chewing food as they leave the house?)