Fuel Rules for the Evening Long Run

I’m a morning runner. It’s as simple as that. For years, I’ve found (or conditioned myself) to feel best when I run after first waking. Usually just with a little coffee and nothing more. My stomach is sensitive. I find the less I have in it, the better I feel.

That said, sometimes you have to eat, like in those instances when you’ve got a 20 plus kilometre distance staring you in the face. Or, if you do your runs (by choice or by force) in the afternoon or evening.

Turns out when you’re a working family with a 13-week-old you have to be flexible with everything you do. That includes not just running, but eating, too! You just never know!

Last week I had my first postpartum 12K to conquer, and the only time that was going to work was at 3:45 p.m.—after my husband got home from work. The old me would have panicked. The new me was just grateful to be able to fit it all in!

Instead of panicking about how my body would feel, I spent the day excited and grateful to be able to run at all and planned my eats diligently.

Being mindful of the following guidelines has helped me to not only survive an afternoon run, but thrive.


Front-load your protein

I typically advise to eat your carbs early and protein late, meaning your breakfast should be higher in carbohydrates than your dinner. When you’re doing your long run in the evening, however, try to eat a higher protein meal for breakfast and then add more carbohydrates into your lunch and snacks. Dinner can still be a recovery meal with a good balance of protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

Be Careful of Fibre

Fibre is the culprit of stomachaches and bathroom emergencies nearly 99.9 per cent of the time. I’m a big veggie lover, but on days that I’m working out in the evening, I have my veggies with breakfast versus lunch. This will allow your body plenty of time to digest before hitting the streets, trail, or treadmill.

Stick to the Basics

This rule really applies to anytime you’re doing a long run, regardless of time. The rule being that it’s best to not experiment with new dishes, not knowing how your body will respond. Leave your adventurous eating to postrun!

Mind the Clock

It’s key that you give yourself a two- to three-hour window between your last meal and setting out on your run to give your body plenty of time to digest. Have a mix of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. The protein and fat will let the meal stick with you, and the carbohydrate will top off those muscle stores.

Try an easy-to-digest (and delicious) smoothie like the one below. Bonus: These ingredients can give you a performance boost, too.



1 cup nondairy milk

1 frozen banana

1 Tablespoon almond butter

1 Tablespoon coconut butter

½ teaspoon matcha powder

1 packet Vega Sport plant protein (or protein powder of choice)



Blend all of the ingredients together.

Matcha is green tea powder, loaded with antioxidants. It provides a nice jolt of nonjittery energy. Coconut butter is high-energy food utilised by the liver. It provides lasting, slow-burning energy. Vega Sport Performance Protein is a plant-based protein powder rich in branch chain amino acids as well as probiotic, tart cherry, and turmeric. It is ideal for maintaining lean, strong muscles, fighting inflammation and more.

This smoothie is beyond good! Let me know what you think!

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