Runners’ lunch

In our series #LAUFFOOD we give practical tips for runners’ meals: it’s time for a good lunch! Good energy combined with enjoyment – who doesn’t want that? Especially as a runner, you should make sure to eat food with a so-called “high nutrient density”. This refers to the relationship between nutrients and energy content in a product. The higher the better, because vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are extremely important for the metabolism, the immune system and of course for performance. 

Especially in the direct context of intensive training or competition, nutrition is a high priority. Who hasn’t experienced stomach aches or stitches during training when the last meal was too heavy or simply “the wrong one”? So today we have put together two categories of what you should eat for lunch if you have an intense run in the evening or just a casual workout or free time (below).

Intensive training in the evening – last main meal 3-4 hours beforehand

Lunch before an intensive training session or competition should be eaten at least 3-4 hours beforehand. Pay attention to the following:

–  High in carbohydrates: (wholemeal) pasta, (natural) rice, potatoes or potato products (mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes; of course no chips or fried potatoes), quinoa, amaranth, bulgur, buckwheat, couscous, bread.
–  Low fat
–  Some protein: chicken, low-fat fish or even some feta/mozzarella cheese
–  Low fibre
–  No raw food

Basically, every runner has to find out for themselves what they can tolerate because everyone reacts differently. The motto here is “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

Recipe suggestions

Pasta with scampi and fresh tomatoes

Ingredients for 2 people:

  • 250 g (wholemeal) pasta
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 tomatoes or a can of chopped tomatoes
  • 250 g frozen scampi
  • Pepper, salt, chilli, 2 tsp vegetable stock
  • A little olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil

Cook the pasta al dente. Sauté the onion cut into pieces with the garlic in the oil, add the scampi, add the tomatoes, season and leave to stand for a while. Arrange on the plate and sprinkle with fresh parmesan and basil.


Rosemary chicken with jacket potatoes 

Ingredients (serves 4 or three hungry runners):

  • 800-1000 g small early potatoes
  • 600 g chicken breast fillet
  • 10 stalks of fresh rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper, salt, chilli, vegetable stock


Wash the early potatoes well, cut them in half and boil them unpeeled with about 300 ml water and a teaspoon of salt. Turn off the potatoes if they are not completely cooked.

Cut the chicken fillets into slices about 3-4 cm thick. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the fillet slices briefly until hot on both sides. Add a little salt and pepper and a little chilli. Put the chicken in a baking dish, sprinkle with five stalks of plucked rosemary and pour a little oil over it.

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees and fan it. Put the potatoes on a baking tray. Mix together about 5 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli powder. Pour the oil mixture over the potatoes and mix them a little. Sprinkle the remaining rosemary over the potatoes.

Put the potatoes on a top rack in the oven, and put the chicken in at the bottom on a rack. Remove the potatoes and chicken after baking for about 20-25 minutes.


Pumpkin Bulgur Salad

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1 medium Hokkaido pumpkin (approx. 1.5 kg)
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • a little curcuma
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 200 g bulgur
  • 1 leek
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • a little milk and white wine
  • 1 tbsp instant vegetable stock
  • 200 g feta
  • 1 pepper

Preheat the oven to 180° degrees. Wash the pumpkin, remove the seeds and then cut into pieces of about 1×1 cm. Place on a baking tray, drizzle a little oil over the top and season with cumin, turmeric, pepper and salt. Bake for about 20-30 minutes on the middle shelf at top/bottom heat.

Put on three times the amount of bulgur. Add 2 tbsp instant vegetable stock. Bring to the boil once, then reduce to a simmer. It takes about 20 minutes until the bulgur is cooked.

Wash and clean the leeks. Cut into fine rings. Chop the garlic. Heat some cooking fat in a pan. Add the leek and brown a little. Add the garlic. After 4-5 minutes, deglaze with milk and a little white wine. Stir in the vegetable stock. Season to taste and put to one side.

Wash the peppers and then cut the peppers and feta into approx. 1 cm pieces. Mix everything together in a bowl and season to taste.
Tastes good lukewarm, but also cold.


Light running session in the evening or off

If you only have a light session in the evening or a day off from training, then the choice of food at lunchtime is not quite as relevant. Basically, it makes sense to eat long-chain carbohydrates combined with protein, good fat and vegetables at lunchtime. This way you are full for a long time, have energy for your head and body and don’t fall into a slump in the afternoon. Therefore, pay attention to the following:

–  Long-chain carbohydrates: wholemeal products such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice, wholemeal bread, potato products (mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes; of course, no chips or fried potatoes) and pseudo-cereals such as quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat.
–  Protein: fish, meat, eggs, cheese, pulses, etc.
–  Good fats
–  High fibre
–  Raw food as you like, but definitely vegetables in some form

Recipe suggestions

Quinoa and lentil salad

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 150 g quinoa seeds
  • 50 g red lentils
  • 1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
  • 100 g feta
  • Mint
  • 1 pepper
  • 2 shallots
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 50 g yoghurt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A little vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


Preparation: Rinse the quinoa warm. Bring to the boil with twice as much water over a medium heat. Add the vegetable stock. Add the lentils according to the packet instructions about 10 minutes before the end of cooking time.

Chop the peppers and shallot. Simmer and set aside when ready.

Put the feta, mint and cherry tomatoes in a small bowl. Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and vinegar in another small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the quinoa and lentil mixture over the peppers and shallots and toss to combine.

Serve the quinoa with the vegetables, stirring in the yoghurt dressing and adding the feta-mint-cherry tomatoes mixture on top. You can add some pomegranate seeds for a more exotic and fresh touch.

It is good hot or cold and can be combined with other vegetables or pulses as desired.


Mediterranean Salmon Risotto

Ingredients (serves 2): 

  • 125 g risotto rice
  • 250 g wild salmon fillet
  • 1 courgette (approx. 200 g)
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, Italian herbs dried or fresh

Cut the onion into small pieces and leave them for 5-10 minutes. Wash the carrots and courgettes and cut into fine pieces. Heat some olive oil in a shallow pan or frying pan and add the onions.

When the onions are golden, add the risotto rice and cook until slightly translucent, stirring regularly. Deglaze with a little water, but only enough to lightly cover the rice. Leave to simmer slowly over a medium heat, stirring regularly. Add the carrot pieces and the vegetable stock. Heat some oil in a separate pan and lightly brown the courgette pieces. Season with pepper, salt, crushed garlic and Italian herbs. Then put them aside in a bowl. Then cook the wild salmon fillet in a pan with a little olive oil. Cook the rice until it is done. Finally, deglaze with white wine and add the chopped salmon fillet and courgettes to the rice. Season to taste!


Cream of broccoli soup with pumpkin seeds and Parmesan cheese


  • 1 broccoli
  • 200 g potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 200 g sour cream
  • 50 g Parmesan shaved
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • some milk
  • vegetable stock


Wash the potatoes, peel and cut into pieces. Cook until soft. Wash the broccoli and cut into pieces. Peel the stalk and cut into small pieces as well. Peel and roughly chop the onion. Heat some oil in a pot and fry the onion.

Add the broccoli and pour in 300 ml vegetable stock. Simmer over medium heat for approx. 10 min. Add some milk and the potatoes and blend with a hand blender. Add the sour cream and season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese and pumpkin seeds.



This blog was written by Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck, running.COACH Gold subscription coach, sports scientist and German half marathon champion (2010).

Cover photo: Patrick, one of the winners of our #LAUFFOOD photo campaign

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