Running part two: Hydration and Fuel


Kelsey Palmros/Iowa State Daily

A toasted bagel with peanut butter or almond butter is an option for a pre-workout meal, while grilled chicken and asparagus is an option for a post-workout meal. 

Kelsey Palmros


There is nothing like working up a little sweat during a summer run. For most beginner runners, a run becomes hotter the more humid and hot it is. Staying hydrated is really important. Find a reusable water bottle that fits with your lifestyle and keep it with you at all times. Replacing a soda refill with a glass of water at a restaurant is a simple way to help stay hydrated. Most importantly, listen to how your body reacts in the heat. If you feel drained, you probably need to hydrate more. Some runners carry a handheld water bottle with them as they run. It is personal preference. I would recommended using these equations for finding out how many ounces of water you will need as a base estimate each day. 

  • Women need to multiply their body weight by .31.
  • Men need to multiply their body weight by .35.

You can adjust your water intake as you feel necessary. I cannot stress enough the importance of listening to your body. Lack of hydration in the summertime can cause serious complications such as fainting or a heat stroke. Be sure to run to rehydrate. Drinking water before and after a run can help reduce the chances of dehydration symptoms during a run. 


The best part of being a runner is the ability to eat virtually anything you want, within reason. Carbs, protein, vegetables, fruits and even chocolate can all help you on a run. As a beginner runner, keeping it simple is key. You do not want to eat too much before a run and you do not want to eat too little. I provided my meal plans for pre- and post-workout below, but remember everyone is different. You will need to experiment to find what works for you. 

Sample Meal Plans

Pre-workout, about two hours before a run:

  • Toasted bagel with peanut butter or almond butter
  • Banana 
  • Glass of water 

Post-workout, about an hour after a run: 

  • Grilled chicken breast or fish
  • Asparagus
  • Pasta
  • Water 

Sometimes when you are waking up and heading out the door eating two hours before a run is just not an option. Below are some quick pre-workout grabs that will get you through your run.

Pre-workout, grab and go:

  • Protein bar such as Cliff Bars
  • Banana 
  • Slice of toast 

Remember trial and error is the only way to find what works best for you.