Nutrition for runners

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  • Drink water regularly throughout the day, especially when you're thirsty!
  • Unless you’re running for more than an hour, water is the best drink to stay hydrated.
  • Refueling after running is important, especially if you’ve had a long or hard workout. Drinking water and having a healthy snack will do the trick in most cases.  
  • Plain milk is a great post-exercise drink as it has carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen your muscles used for energy and protein to help them recover.
  • Staying properly hydrated is especially important for runners as you will lose fluid by sweating.
  • Chocolate milk has a lot of sugar and should not be considered a healthy drink.

Sports drinks

  • Sports drinks were developed for athletes participating in a vigorous activity for more than an hour. They contain a lot of sugar and other ingredients most athletes don’t require. 
  • Make your own “sports drink” by mixing 1/3 cup of 100 per cent fruit juice with 2/3 cup water.

Energy drinks

  • Energy drinks aren’t safe for children and youth because they contain high levels of caffeine, sugar and other stimulants. A young person with a healthy diet has enough energy to last the day, even if they are very active. Doctors Nova Scotia wants the provincial government to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under 19.


  • Consume 3 healthy meals a day.
  • Run 2 hours after a meal, but have a snack so you’re not hungry when starting your run.
  • Eating during exercise isn’t recommended as you may get a stomach ache. If you know in advance you’ll be active for several hours at a track meet or tournament, eat healthy snacks in small portions. Fruit, yogurt, cereal or granola bars, nuts or seeds, or cheese and crackers are good snacks.
  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods before running as they are harder to digest and may give you a stomach ache.

 For more information about healthy eating, check out the nutrition section of the Runner's Handbook.