2 Classic Pasta Recipes For Runners


When it comes to food for running Pasta is always right at the top of everyone’s suggestion list, especially as a meal to have the night before a big race. It’s a good, simple and cheap source of complex carbohydrates, which will refuel muscle glycogen depleted from other training runs. Here are two classic pasta recipes to keep you fueled and ready to run.

Top Tip: I find that it’s best to eat pasta after training to re-fuel. I tend not to eat pasta less than two to three hours before training as it makes me sleepy!

Recipe 1: (Tagliatelle) Bolognese

The absolute classic pasta dish, found in pretty much every Italian restaurant in the world. Known in Italian as ragù ala bolognese and frequently served with tagliatelle or lasagne, the rich tomato and meat-based sauce hails from Bologna in the 18th century.



For the pan and for the meat…

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

For the Sauce…

  • 1 Onion, Very Finely Diced
  • 2 Celery Sticks, Very Finely Diced
  • 1 Carrot, Very Finely Diced
  • 500g Minced Pork
  • 500g Minced Beef
  • 50ml Red Wine (You can drink then rest!)
  • 50ml Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Purée
  • 300ml Passata
  • 400ml Chicken Or Veg Stock

For the Pasta…

  • 500g Fresh Tagliatelle (although to be honest any tagliatelle will be lovely, or fettucini if you don’t have any tagliatelle)

Did You Know: Although it’s very popular around the world, spaghetti bolognese is not a popular dish in Italy as chefs say the bolognese sauce is only meant to be served on broad, flat types of pasta.

Optional…(to sprinkle on top at the end)

  • Parmesan Shavings


The method is pretty simple for bolognese, and your kitchen will have a delicious aroma of red wine and tomatoes!

Step 1) Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large pan and fry the carrot, onion and celery for about 5 minutes until soft.

Step 2) As the vegetables are cooking throw all the meat into a bowl, add the other tablespoon of oil and crumble with your fingers. You can then add this meat to the pan and fry until brown, which usually takes around 5 minutes.

Step 3) Add the red wine and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Step 4) Add the milk and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes

Step 5) Add the puree, stock and passata and simmer for around 3 hours until the sauce has reduced and thickened

Step 6) About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve the bolognese sauce, boil some water in a separate pan, add your pasta and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes. Thus, once the pasta is done, you can drain it and add it to the bolognese sauce.

Step 7) Serve your Tagliatelle Bolognese and flavour with parmesan if you wish.

(Tagliatelle) Bolognese

Recipe 2: Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is a creamy dish made with eggs, cheese, bacon and black pepper. No-one actually knows exactly where the dish originated, though it has been suggested that its name derives from ‘carbonaro.’ meaning ‘charcoal burner,’ and could thus be a hearty dish made for Italian charcoal workers. What we do know is that the recipe is delicious and that the first written references to it come from the 1950’s.

Spaghetti Carbonara


For the bacon (part of the sauce but cooked separately at the start)

  • 100g Pancetta (although most bacon is fine)
  • 2 Garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 50g Butter

For the sauce…

  • 50g Parmesan
  • 50g Pecorino cheese
  • 3 Large eggs
  • Salt and Black Pepper

For the pasta…

  • 350g Spaghetti


Step 1: Set water to boil in a large saucepan. Adding a teaspoon of salt.

Step 2: As the water boils finely chop your pancetta, and squash the garlic with the blade of your knife just to ‘bruise’ it. (but not quite crush it)

Step 3: During this time you’ll also want to grate your two kinds of cheese and mix them together along with the eggs. Moreover, you should add a small amount of black pepper for seasoning.

Step 4: Add the spaghetti to your pan of boiling water. It will take about 10 minutes to cook.

Step 5: While the spaghetti cooks, you should heat the butter in a separate pan, adding the pancetta and garlic and frying for about 5 minutes until the pancetta is crisp and golden. Thus, the garlic is only there to add flavour to the pancetta, so when the pancetta is done be sure to remove the garlic!

Step 6: Drain the pasta (keeping a little water handy) and add it to the frying pan that has the pancetta in, making sure to keep the pan on a low heat.

Step 7: Add the cheese and egg mixture along with a little bit of water from the drained pasta and stir plenty to make sure that all the pasta gets coated; don’t be afraid to remove from the heat. The goal is to get a nice mixture without accidentally scrambling the egg!

Step 8: Serve onto a plate or bowl. For added authenticity, you can use a fork (one with long prongs) and twist the pasta onto the serving dish. You can then add any extra cheese or pepper to taste.

Spaghetti Carbonara


There you go, the bolognese and the carbonara, two classic pasta dishes guaranteed to help you recover and refuel after a long running workout. I like to serve both of them with a lovely leafy green salad. So, I make sure I get all my vitamins and minerals too, plus it makes the meal look much nicer!

Think you’re going to try one of these recipes? Or perhaps you already have and you’ve got a favourite? Let me know in the comments section.


  1. These are great! I am always looking for a good carb load idea and these two really hit the mark, thanks!

    1. Thanks! Hope you prepare them soon!

  2. Two great pasta classic dishes, love the mix of prok and beef in the first…and the red wine 😉

    1. I’m glad you like them, Evelyne! The wine just adds to the flavour! 🙂

  3. I don’t run enough but I love pasta! Both of these recipes are just wonderful classic dishes!

    1. They are simply delicious, Marcie! Try to combine them with running 😉

  4. Niceeeee! I love pasta, and Amit is on a bit of a fitness kick at the moment – so I’ll be passing them to him… or cooking them for him :p

    1. You should definitely prepare these two recipes, Tim!

  5. Love pasta recipes! Keep posting recipes like this.

    1. I will, Ray! I love pasta, too! 😉

  6. Oh my gosh, carbonara is one of my all-time favorite pasta recipes! Funny enough, but I’ve been craving it for the past couple of weeks…and now I’m REALLY craving it! 🙂 Looks delicious, Agness!

    1. So, you should definitely try it, David! 🙂

  7. These are such great recipe ideas (for both runners and non runners lol). Pasta is just an all-time fave food 🙂

    1. Thanks, Phi! Pasta is always a good idea! 😉

  8. i tend to treat pasta as an easy 30 minute meal thing, so i’ve never made bolognese or anything long and slow sauce! this looks so hearty and cozy though, especially with the “optional” parm (;

    1. These two recipes may be a bit challenging, but they are definitely worth the effort, Heather! 🙂

  9. Love pasta! Not only for replenishing during training, but for days when I need comfort food!

    1. Pasta seems to be an all-time favorite dish, Kiran!

  10. Pasta is always one of my favorite meals, whether I’m recovering from a run or not :). Both of these recipes look fantastic!

    1. Thanks a bunch, Kelsie! I completely understand you. I could eat pasta every day! 🙂

  11. I don’t run every day but I love pasta dishes, and also love adding red wine to my pasta. So these two classic looking pasta dishes are speaking to me. Wonderful share.

    1. I love them, too! Hope you like them, Anu!

  12. Any excuse to make pasta is a good one in my book. 😉 These both look delish, especially that Spaghetti Carbonara!

    1. They are finger-licking, Tracy! You should definitely try them!

  13. I’m allergic to wheat now, but as a child, I always ate pasta the night before a race. 🙂

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, Missy! What’s your alternative to wheat?

  14. Even as a non-runner, I can enthusiastically say that pasta is some of my favorite fuel. These are great ideas for dressing up the average bowl of noodles!

    1. Everyone loves pasta, Hannah! 🙂

  15. I’m no runner, but gosh these pasta recipes are scrumptious! The Spaghetti Carbonara is so enticing!

    1. I’m glad you like the recipes, Deb! 🙂

  16. I love carbonara but eat it so seldom because, well, I don’t run… 🙂 My mouth is watering, your carbonara dish looks just like mine, so I can totally imagine the taste right now.

    1. You should definitely start running so you can eat carbonara more often, Adina! 🙂

  17. I love BOTH of these recipes, but I have a weakness when it comes to carbonara! Is it wrong to want it for breakfast??? It’s bacon and eggs after all 🙂

    1. I completely understand what you mean, Liz. I could eat carbonara all day long! 🙂

  18. Both recipes sound great…now if only I could run so I wouldn’t free guilty when I eat them. 😀

    1. You should definitely stop feeling guilty (and start running)! 🙂

  19. Hi Agness, two lovely sounding (and looking) recipes. A saw you had commented on a friends blog so thought I’d pop over. Love yours! Val x

    1. Thanks, Val! You should definitely try these recipes. 😉

  20. Apparently I need to run more so I can eat more pasta! hahaha! Seriously, I’ve cut out all pasta right now so I can lose 10 stubborn pounds that are hanging on from winter before I get into a bathing suit. Seeing this post makes me want pasta even more! I’m going to start running tomorrow so I can eat some carbonara this weekend! 😉

    1. Try these recipes as soon as you start running. In that way, you won’t feel guilty, Karrie! 🙂

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