For the average person, our daily eating habits might seem predictable. If you’re preparing for a big event, you’re probably searching high and low for what to eat before a running race. Alternatively you may be trying to figure out what to avoid. While finding the time to eat something is a challenge, menu planning is a different kind of headache. Especially if we’re eating at least three meals a day. But fret not, fellow runners...you’re about to learn what to eat before a race so you’ll be best prepared for your upcoming half marathon.
The following is are our recommendations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We even include a few suggested snacks for those in-between meals.
It is beneficial to know on what to eat before a running race. For those who don’t have time to cook and need something fast, get a cup of granola mixed with a half cup of milk and one banana. If you’re traveling, pack a couple of hard boiled eggs and an apple. When time does permit time to cook, you can scramble two eggs. If you want to spice it up a bit, be sure to add a cup of hot salsa and an avocado. This will allow you to keep the “heat” at a reasonable level. For those of you who are vegan, you can make one serving of oatmeal and add a cup of berries (your choice).
During the morning of your race, eat a whole grain bagel with two tablespoons of peanut butter. As a side, add a piece of fruit (think about what’s in-season right now).
If you’re part of the “lunch in a brown paper bag” crew, your best bet for lunch is a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with a side of diced bell peppers and a banana. If you decide to put your tupperware to good use, make an irresistible taco bowl with black beans, rice, chicken, salsa, lettuce and avocado. Just make sure you have it close by and not in the mysterious “Bermuda Triangle” known as the fridge at work.
Another great suggestion on what to eat before a running race is tuna, lettuce, and tomato stuffed in a pita. As a side dish, go with a green salad or fruit. If you’re all about the veggies, you can’t go wrong with a spinach wrap with avocado, hummus, and lettuce. Your side dish? Broccoli or kale chips are your best bets.
For the weekend, gather up your favorite greens and mix it with cucumbers, dill, tomatoes, and a piece of salmon. Your vegan option will consist of quinoa, baked cubed sweet potato, cubed beets, and roasted halved brussel sprouts.
You have a ton of options in terms of dinner. But for the most part, it’ll be something with a good source of protein. For example, a grilled chicken with summer squash paired with a green salad is the perfect dinner. If you choose another meat option, you can’t go wrong with beef. Grill or broil a lean steak and top it off with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and blue cheese.
Fish is never out of the question when it comes to dinner time. Saute some white fish and wrap it up in a corn tortillas with shredded lettuce and a tangy, but spicy mango salsa.
If you’re in the mood for something with a bit of a kick, put together a bean chili with diced tomatoes, chili powder, onions, peppers, and cumin. For additional creaminess, add mashed pumpkins.
For your vegan option, go for stir fried tofu with sweet peppers, onions, greens, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
Your pre-race dinner is also important to your preparation. Should you go with a traditional route, one highly recommended dinner idea would be pasta with marinara with a side of green salad. If you want to go a non-traditional route, then you can’t go wrong with Vietnamese lemongrass beef with a noodle salad.
If you’re looking on what to eat before a running race for snacks, here’s a list of “can eat” snacks:
Trail mix, kale chips, apples with peanut butter, greek yogurt, and baked tortilla chips with salsa.
If you are a high mileage running and need the extra calories, feel free to double your serving sizes or add more fruits and vegetables. It is highly recommended that you eat the foods listed above on what to eat the week before a race.