Meal Plan for a Runner – Long Distance


Long distance running is very much endurance with a high demand on the cardiovascular system. Long distance events range from 5km to a marathon. Training for the events will involve gym work 2-3 times per week and road running for a few kilometres 1-2 times per week, with a longer distance practice just once every few weeks. Longer distance runs are very enduring and are a high demand on energy levels. Following an event no training for a few days is essential to recuperate.

Long distance runners generally do not carry a deal of muscle mass, but will have strong leg tendon strength and excellent fitness. Following a meal plan like the one below will be ideal for a typical week's training, but both pre- and post-event carbohydrate loading is recommended in order to maximise the muscle and liver carbohydrate stores.

Here's a sample meal plan for a long distance runner to follow for a typical training day:

The above plan provides sufficient levels of all nutrients, however do bear in mind that the plan is merely a general guide, and there is no mention of portion sizes on purpose so that you can adapt it to suit yourself; remember men will generally require larger portions than women! You must eat a variety of different meats/fish, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. This plan is based around sustained slow released low glycaemic carbohydrates to help provide energy for exercise sessions. Oatcakes and granary bread will top up this slow released energy through the daytime. See our Glycaemic Index Tables for GI values of foods.



Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.