Date Fruit for Runners

Benefits of date fruit

Dates are small, sweet and unassuming fruit loaded densely with nutrients.  It is a middle eastern region fruit and now grown all over the world in warmer climates.

There are different types of dates available in the market. Fresh and dry types.

Fresh are soft and contains moisture. They have lesser shelf life i.e can be stored for 8 months in a airtight container.

Dry dates don’t have much moisture. They have longer shelf life i.e can be stored for upto a year. They have more number of calories that fresh dates.

Nutritional Content

1.  It is a rich source of dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble, and helps keep the feeling of fullness and aids digestion.

2.  It is a rich source of iron, vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 alongwith vitamin A1, C and K which help in metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins and fats. .

3.  It is also a rich source of potassium.

4.  Dates are high in calories and zero cholesterol and very low fat. It is helpful in loosing weight.

5.  Fresh dates have a soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose. They replenish energy very quickly because of the simple sugars.

6.  It also contains carbohydrates essential for providing sustained energy during extended periods of workout.

7.  Presence of flavonoid antioxidants known as tannins in dates can help prevent infection and inflammation.

8.  Numerous other micro nutrients like magnesium, copper and calcium  are also present.

9.  And last but not the least, it is said to help boost libido.

Reading the above, it can be understood that there is no denying of the fact that date fruit is a super food. As a runner, I keep looking for foods of good value to help my running. In India, gels or instant energy boosters to be consumed during running are not available in the market. And after stumbling across this fruit, I realised that dates can be a natural alternatives to gels.

Benefits of Dates for Runners

1.  Being a source of carbohydrates, dates provide a sustained release of energy during the run.

2.  The simple sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose provide instant energy during bonking or helps keeping up the energy levels.

3.  It gives a welcome change in taste after hours of running or what long distance runners call flavor fatigue.

4.  It aids digestion during running as digestive system is stressed out to absorb the food and provide energy.

5.   It helps make the heart stronger as it is rich in potassium and almost free of sodium. Dates are also cholesterol  and fat free, thus controlling blood pressure.

6.  Runners need iron to maintain a healthy hemoglobin level and prevent fatigue. Dates is loaded with iron and can help supplement the requirement.




It is advisable to check how much consumption is sufficient for you before you try it in a race. As it is loaded with dietary fibre and acts as a laxative, it can cause GI distress and amount of intake should be restricted.

Ways to Eat Dates

1.  Eat as it is and spit out the seed.

2.  Cut it in small pieces and sprinkle it on home made cakes, cookies, breads and other foods.

3.  Add chopped pieces to salads, rice, vegetables and desserts.

4.  Make a dates chutney(Indian name for a type of syrup) and can be served on the side of many Indian snacks.

5.  Remove the seed and sprinkle some salt inside to get a sweet and salty taste. It’s good to carry them on the long runs.

6.  Remove the seed and stuff it with almonds, walnuts, cheese or whatever you like. Be creative.

Let me know if you know anymore ways to eat this delicious fruit. Make friends with dates and you will never regret.

Till then stay fit and keep running.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Neel banerjee

Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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  1. running my first marathon this coming January…was going to try using dates as a substitute for gels . Any suggestions on when to take them and how much during the run….thanks
    Also do you take any special energy drink during or before the marathon. Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Bev, at the outset welcome to my blog. I have both used gels and dates during long runs. A single date will give you around 23 calories. You require close to 200 calories per hour, depending on your size. So, I suggest use both during the run, depending how you are feeling. Do remember, too many dates may lead to GI issues. Try it out during your weekly long runs and see how your body is reacting to it and decide thereafter.

      As for the energy drinks, no I don’t take any special ones. I take the ones which will manage my electrolyte levels in my body. Gatorade and such drinks do have carbs in it which is easily digestible. So, it helps. And yes, I do drink a big mug of coffee and couple of slices of bread with peanut butter and Nutella before the race.

      Hope this helps. Regards.

      Post a Reply
      • Neel thanks for the info re dates and energy drinks. I do have one other question.
        Have you ever taken Imodium A-D . Several of my friends told about the possibility of preventing any accidents along the race route…what is your advice.
        Thanks again,

        Post a Reply
        • Hey Bev, I never used this stuff and didn’t know about it till now. However, I checked up and found that it is to prevent diarrhoea. Well, long distance running does result in GI distress and there are natural ways to prevent it. Firstly, practice eating during the long runs and get to know what your stomach can handle. Keep trying stuff which gives you energy without causing any stomach issues. Also, avoid fibre rich food the day prior to the race. Avoid pigging out for the sake of carbo loading. Don’t try any new stuff a day prior to the race and on race day. I hope these will keep your stomach happy.


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