What to eat on normal training days

Find out how many calories and carbohydrates you need to fuel, recover and manage your weight effectively, plus recipe suggestions for normal training days.

What to eat on moderate & normal training days

On normal training days you should aim for a moderate increase in energy (calorie) intake mainly from increased carbohydrate... 

Nutrition plan for normal training days (1 training session over 60 min or containing intermittent/high-intensity training)

Moderate intake of carbs and protein
You should have a moderate intake of carbohydrates on these days, which would include a serving of carbohydrate at breakfast and lunch, to fuel training and replenish muscle glycogen stores. Intake can then be reduced in the evening. Meal options should focus on low-GI carbohydrates for sustained energy release. Aim for a moderate protein intake as well - a serving of protein should be included with each meal for ongoing muscle growth and repair. 

'Training low'
Depending on your goals, you may still wish to 'train low' by eating a low carb, higher protein meal. Simply put, this means exercising when the muscles' stores of glycogen (that you get from carbohydrate) is low. This primes the muscles to become more efficient at using fat stores as a fuel during training.

The most common way of ‘training low’ is to exercise before breakfast. More recently research has also shown that a workout after a protein-based (low carb) breakfast will also produce the same result. Other ways to ‘train low’ include training twice a day or following a low carbohydrate diet. 

It should be noted that ‘training low’ increases the strain on the muscles, which can reduce the training quality of harder session, therefore it should be carefully planned for appropriate sessions. 

Other nutrients
Include polyunsaturated fats in your evening meal to promote the function of muscle cells. Foods containing iron should also be included in three meals per week, which is vital for carrying oxygen to the working muscles and supporting energy production during endurance exercise.

Meal options:

Creamy yogurt porridgeBreakfast:
Creamy yogurt porridge with pear, walnut & cinnamon topping
Scrambled egg muffin
Honey crunch granola with almonds & apricots

Morning snack suggestion:
Fruit & nut yogurt

Chicken soba noodlesLunch options:
Chicken soba noodles
Smoked salmon & avocado sushi
Spicy Cajun chicken quinoa
Japanese-style beef bowl

Afternoon snack suggestion:
Chinese spiced seed mix

Smoked mackerel, orange & couscous saladDinner options:
Prawn, avocado & cucumber salad
Sesame tuna steaks with Asian slaw
Chicken breast with avocado salad

Evening snack (optional)
Melon & crunchy bran pots


Now find out what to eat on easy and heavy training days.

More training & nutrition tips for runners

Are you training for a race this year? What have you found most challenging and do you have any top tips to share with other runners? We'd love to hear from you below...

This article was last reviewed on 6 March 2017 by James Collins.

James Collins is head of nutrition at Arsenal Football Club. He’s worked with some of the world’s best athletes over the last decade within Olympic and professional sport. His Performance Nutrition principles are now helping everyone to look, feel and perform better each day. Find out more at: www.jamescollinsnutrition.com.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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