Meal plans for runners | BBC Good Food

Many of these recipes are nutrient-dense (meaning they provide a range of nutrients, including important vitamins and minerals) to keep the body healthy as your training increases.

There are several key elements of performance nutrition that are important to consider to maximise your performance. The main focus with endurance training is to match your daily fuel intake to the volume of training – this is known as ‘periodised’ nutrition.

This means that what you eat should be different depending on your training demands for that day – there will be some trial and error to learn what feels right for you.

Getting your fuelling right on different days means you can have sufficient energy during training, while also reducing body fat (if that is your goal) over the course of your training programme.

Next, read what to eat for cycling, the top health benefits of exercise, the best exercise to burn fat and how much protein you need to build muscle.

1. Meals for rest and light-intensity training days

Women on a gentle jog

Easier days require less carbohydrates to fuel your training. Our rest and easy training day meal plan can help you prioritise protein, fats and mixed vegetables over carbs, plus it shows you how to incorporate ‘fasted training’ into your routine.

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Find out what to eat on rest and easy training days.

2. Meals for moderate-intensity training days

Woman stretching after a run

Carbohydrate is a main fuel for endurance training, so as your training volume increases, you need to eat more to keep your stores topped up. Our recipe suggestions for moderate-intensity training will help you get all the nutrition you need on these days.

Find out what to eat on moderate-intensity training days.

3. Meals for heavy and high-intensity training days

woman stretching legs on loading dock

On heavy training days, you’ll need to pay close attention to hydration levels and up your carbohydrate intake. Make sure you’re eating the right kind of carbs with our high-intensity training days recipe suggestions.

Find out what to eat on heavy/high-intensity training days.

4. Meals to eat when training for a marathon

Man listening to music while running

Whether it’s your first marathon or you’ve taken part in one many times before, we have all the information you need to get your nutrition right on race day. We’ve planned seven days of meals to keep you feeling strong and energised, there’s also tips on eating for recovery and we explain carb-loading.

Read what to eat when training for a marathon.

5. What to eat for a run

Lacing up running trainers on the road

Get to grips with what to eat before, during and after running. We explain how to give your body everything it needs to power up and refuel, as well as how to stay hydrated.

Other helpful nutrition plans for runners

There are lots of free marathon training plans for different abilities and distances available online from trusted sources such as the London Marathon and Runner’s World.

Want more like this? Now try…

See our marathon nutrition hub
Find out how Mo Farah fuels for training
What to eat if you exercise in the evening


These meal plans were last updated on 20 February 2023.

James Collins is recognised as a leading Performance Nutritionist through his work with Olympic and professional sport. Over the last decade he has worked with Arsenal FC, the England and France national football teams and Team GB. He has a private practice in Harley Street where he sees business executives, performing artists and clients from all walks of life. He is the author of the new book The Energy Plan, which focuses on the key principles of fuelling for fitness.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

Are you training for a race this year? What have you found most challenging and do you have any top tips to share with other runners? We’d love to hear from you below…

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