Carbs, Caffeine and Collagen

This post is part of a paid sponsorship with RNWY. 

As runners, it is important to nail our nutrition before, during and after the run. Doing so will provide the fuel we need for activity and recovery, so we can maximize our training to reach our goals. Pre-run nutrition is often overlooked by runners for many different reasons: overlooking the positive impact fuel can have, trying to ‘cut calories’, being worried about GI distress, running low on time, or even just an oversight. But, there are several things we can do with our pre-run nutrition to support our activity & recovery. My three non-negotiables before runs that can make a huge impact on training and beyond  are the three C’s: carbs, caffeine, and collagen (this list is not inclusive of all things beneficial before your run – just my three non-negotiables.)


Fueling our bodies with carbohydrates pre-run is recommended for ALL runs, no matter the distance or duration. Carbs provide the quick fuel our muscles need for any endurance activity. Research shows that pre-run fueling increases performance, lowers perceived exertion and lowers our stress response.

Meghann’s Tip: Aim for about 25-30 g carb 30-60 min pre-run for runs over 70 minutes. For runs greater than 70 minutes, aim for 50-60g+ carb. You can also add a little fat or protein as tolerated with your carbs.


Caffeine has been shown to improve mental clarity, decrease pain, and decrease our rate of perceived exertion while running. Drinking coffee or consuming caffeine pre-run may be extraordinarily helpful. Most people benefit from caffeine, however for some, there is no effect, and for others, it has a negative effect (increased heart rate, GI issues, anxiety). If you tolerate caffeine and feel awake from a cup of coffee, you’ll likely find benefits to your running performance from caffeine.

Meghann’s Tip: If you think you benefit from caffeine, you can drink a cup of coffee or two before your run or try caffeinated gels. Generally, those who tolerate caffeine should aim for around 3-5mg/kg over an entire race.


Collagen is our body’s most abundant structural protein. It makes up over 90% of our tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. After the age of 25, our body’s collagen synthesis decreases each year. There is promising research that collagen supplementation can help us as runners repair and rebuild cartilage, reduce joint pain, strengthen ligaments & tendons, and improve bone density. Blood flow to our tendons, ligaments, and joints is poor. So, taking collagen before a run allows it to peak in our bloodstream and maximize delivery to these areas as we exercise.

Meghann’s Tip: Take 10-15 grams of collagen + 50 mg Vitamin C 30-45 minutes before exercise. A great option to make this easy is RNWY, a lemon-lime flavored collagen + vitamin C drink with electrolytes and other vitamins, minerals to keep us healthy for the long haul. 

Try RNWY for yourself and save 15% with code Feather15

PMID: 21660838, 33388079, 27852613, 21251991, 18416885, 30609761, 29337906

Disclaimer: The content in our blog articles provides generalized nutrition guidance. The information above may not apply to everyone. For personalized recommendations, please reach out to your sports dietitian. Individuals who may chose to implement nutrition changes agree that Featherstone Nutrition is not responsible for any injury, damage or loss related to those changes or participation.