Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

A Healthy Balanced Diet for a Track Runner

author image Ryan Biddulph
Based in New Jersey, Ryan Biddulph has been writing since 2010, with his articles appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM, among others. He has helped clients reach their personal fitness goals since 2001. He also runs an Internet marketing blog. He holds a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from Kean University and a certificate in Web development from the Cittone Institute.
A Healthy Balanced Diet for a Track Runner
A chicken, veggie and noodle dish on a wooden table. Photo Credit: ALLEKO/iStock/Getty Images

Track runners require a diet that is tailored to their specific caloric needs. Sprinters engage in short interval, high intensity exercise, which burns more calories in a shorter time. Distance runners focus on long interval, lower intensity cardiovascular activity, which requires a steady flow of calories.

Video of the Day

Sprinter Diet

In a article, Nancy Clark, RD, MS, notes that runners need quality foods as a spark plug for energy. A sprinter should consume a high protein, moderate carbohydrate diet. Good protein sources are chicken, turkey and salmon. Carbohydrate sources are oatmeal, whole grains and sweet potatoes.

Distance Runner Diet

A distance runner’s diet should focus on complex carbohydrate sources and fats for a slower burning fuel source. Good carbohydrate sources are whole wheat spaghetti and bananas. According to, lipids, or fats, are an ideal fuel source for later stages in long distance running events after glycogen stores have been depleted. Consume fats such as olive oil and flax seed.

Meal Timing

Give yourself adequate time to digest a pre-workout meal. Consume meals at least 60 to 90 minutes before running.


Remain hydrated by drinking at least nine to 12 cups of water a day. Pre-hydrate by drinking water before your workout, which prevents cramping during physical activity.

Pre Workout Meal

Eat lightly before running to prevent bloating and to optimize your workout. Consume a light carbohydrate, moderate protein snack to provide a steady flow of nutrients for your exercise session.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media