This Runner’s Eats: Summer Meals

This Runner's Eats: Summer Meals

On paper, summer is my 0ff-season from training this year, but in reality, this summer has been very active. I have been running 30-35 miles per week to maintain my base, strength training with weights and Pilates 2-3 times per week, and often hiking or backpacking on the weekends. All that activity means needing to fuel my body well.

Last time that I shared a peek into how I eat, it seemed that all of you wonderful readers really enjoyed it. I feel like sometimes it is hard to know how to eat as a runner, especially because we will see one article that promulgates veganism, another that promotes Paleo, and another that says quality doesn’t matter so long as it fits your macros. 

I do not follow any diet. I eat mostly unprocessed real foods – vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy – and I minimize my intake of added sugar, but I still do indulge. I will always have a weakness for burgers and fries. Food is important for health and running well, yes, but it is also part of enjoying life and spending time with others. 

Here’s a sample into what I’ve been eating lately:

Pre-Run Snack

Just a cup of black coffee and some water. During the peak months of summer, the sun rises before 5 AM, so I take advantage of that to run early in the morning. Ryan and I are usually out on our run between 5:15 and 6 AM, depending on the distance, so I will usually skip the pre-run snack and run fasted. 

If I wake up really hungry (not very common) or we are doing an interval run, I’ll have a graham cracker before the run. I prefer bananas if I am running later in the morning (7-8 AM), but a graham cracker is small volume-wise and quicker for me to digest than a banana. 


After my runs, I eat breakfast within an hour. I will forever be an oatmeal-for-breakfast person. I am not a huge fan of the texture of overnight oats and prefer them warm, so I eat hot oatmeal even in summer. Lately, I have been topping it with homemade almond butter, fresh berries, bananas, and sometimes shredded carrots. I have another cup of coffee along with it, because waking up at 5 AM to run requires two cups of coffee.  

This Runner's Eats: Summer Meals


I have started eating chicken a few days per week at lunch. To balance it out, we have been having more meatless dinners (such as sourdough pizza or falafel). I simply needed more variety in my lunches and more protein some days. My current favorite salad is massaged kale (lots of calcium!), roasted chicken breast, cooked chickpeas, and roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes. 

This Runner's Eats: Summer Meals


I have two snacks a day: a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit in the afternoon and dark chocolate in the evening. Okay, to be honest, I’ll snack on dark chocolate throughout the day. It’s just so good straight out of the freezer in summer!


We purchased a gas grill for our porch recently, which has been a lifesaver on the days when it feels too hot to turn on the oven (most places in Seattle do not have A/C). The organic market near our apartment makes bratwurst and sausage on-site and we’ve been having these once a week recently. I get the chicken bratwurst (Ryan has the traditional) and it is so delicious, especially when paired with fresh corn and grilled vegetables. This photo is from a double workout day, when I bulked up the meal further with some grilled red potatoes. 

This Runner's Eats: Summer Meals


Right now Ryan and I are enjoying our first batch of homebrewed beer, a Northwest style pale ale (it tastes similar to Sierra Nevada pale ale). Since homebrewed beer is not pasteurized, there’s still live yeast in it, which means it contains more B-vitamins and good bacteria than commercial beer. That’s not to mention that home brewed beer just tastes so fresh and flavorful!

This Runner's Eats: Summer Meals

[Tweet “What a #runner eats during base building and summer #runnersreats #runchat”]

Have you ever tried homebrewed beer?
What’s your favorite summer dinner?

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5 Responses

  1. Because of the restaurant, composted meals have become a thing of the past. That said, I think it has help with any reflux, because I’m eating bits throughout the day, and every time that I eat a lot at once, I don’t feel so good.

  2. I love that you shared this… I love learning about what other runners eat and as I said on one of your last posts, I think you have a very healthy moderate approach to diet! 😉

    We do a lot of simple dinners in the summer, grilled chicken or fish and lots of salads or steamed veggies.
    I do wanna make more oatmeal again. Do you let it soak over night and then heat it up? (That’s how I do my steel cut oats usually)

  3. I eat graham crackers as a pre-run snack too! With peanut butter for longer runs. I’ve had homebrew beer because my husband brews, but our beer preferences don’t really overlap. If I were more motivated I might try brewing a stout for myself.

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