What do I need to eat or drink while training for a 10km run?

Top up bottle with tap water

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

When you’re training for an event such as a 10km run, it is unlikely that you will need to buy any special foods or drinks. Enjoy the activity and the feeling of getting fitter without worrying about specialist sports nutrition.

When it comes to drinks, if your exercise session is up to an hour, then you only need to drink water. This is especially important if you are trying to lose weight, as drinking sugary sport or energy drinks during or after your training can mean you consume more calories than you have expended.

Similarly, it can be easy to overcompensate for the exercise you have done by treating yourself to more indulgent meals or additional snacks. If you have a healthy diet, then you should already be getting all the energy and nutrients you need.

If your exercise session is up to an hour, then you only need to drink water

However, if you move on to training for endurance events, such as a marathon or our 54-mile London to Brighton bike ride, this could require a bit more thought.

Nevertheless, the basis of your eating should still be a healthy balanced diet. Although protein requirements do increase slightly with regular exercise, because most of us are already eating more protein than our bodies need, this should be enough to compensate for the extra activity you are doing.

This means there is no need to top yourself up with protein shakes or similar. Staying hydrated is, however, extremely important.

If your exercise sessions last for longer than 90 minutes, then eating a snack to sustain your energy is a good idea. Good options would be a piece of fruit, such as a banana, or a handful of dried fruit.

Victoria Taylor Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than ten years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.

More useful information