Complex Carbs for Runners

Complex Carbs for Runners

AHHH CARBS! Carbs are so bad…they cause diabetes…they make you fat!


The fear people have with carbs these days is all messed up! Complex carbohydrates actually play a huge roll in the body. They help prep muscles for a workout, they give us an efficient energy source to work off of during a workout, and help the muscles recovery quicker. Simple carbs however, are where all these fallacies come from; things like soda, candy, refined flours…these simple carbs, when eaten in excess can have negative effects on the body.

But today we are talking about Complex Carbs for runners!


Why choose complex carbs?

Complex carbs are the carbohydrates with longer, more complex chains. Oftentimes foods containing complex carbohydrates also include a few other healthy items like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Because of the complexity of these molecules, they take longer to digest and provide the body a steady stream of energy, rather than a spike of insulin like simple carbs do.


What About Simple Carbs?

Simple carbs are still a thing for runners! Simple carbs can be a great way to get that immediate energy spike your body needs when you’ve been out on a run for a long period of time. GUs and candies that people consume during these longer runs are made up of simple carbohydrates that do just this.

However, when we are talking about our day to day carbohydrates, we should focus more on incorporating complex carbohydrates into our meals.


Foods that Contain Complex Carbohydrates:


Whole Wheat Pastas




wild rice


Brown Rice & Wild Rice




sweet potato


Sweet Potatoes






Barley & Quinoa




black beans


Black Beans






Dark Leafy Greens










old fashioned oats






butternut squash


Butternut Squash










green peas


Green Peas



Recipes with Complex Carbohydrates


Sweet Potatoes Brown Rice
Quinoa Chickpeas
Oats Butternut Squash
Whole Wheat Pasta


Sweet Potatoes


Sweet Potato Fries

– sweet potatoes

sweet potato fries

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Roasted Parmesan Herb Sweet Potatoes

– sweet potato

roasted sweet potatoes

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Brown Rice


Mexican Bean & Rice Salad

– brown rice, black beans, corn

brown rice salad

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Mexican Brown Rice

– brown rice, black beans

mexican brown rice

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

– quinoa, dark leafy green

quinoa tabbouleh

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Spicy Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes

 – sweet potatoes, quinoa

spicy quinoa

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Fresh Raspberry-Quinoa Pancakes

– quinoa

quinoa pancakes

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Lentil Quinoa Salad

– quinoa, lentils

lentil and quinoa salad

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