20 pre-race/long run meal ideas and THE FIRST SOCCER GAME.

Another rainy day on the books.  We decided the treadmill was the winner for our run yesterday morning.  I did four miles @ 8:34 average pace.  I love to use the treadmill on days like yesterday when I want to make sure that I go a certain pace… I set the exact pace that I want so that I don’t accidentally go anything but what I am supposed to do that day.  I just run and read and stop right when I get to four.  Outside I’m always a little bit tempted to go somewhat faster or further.

We shot some hoops afterwards and I somehow think that shooting like a ballerina is the way to do it.

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After that we packed up some lunches and drove up to Salt Lake City to grab the race bib.  They only had bib pick-up on Wednesday and Thursday or the morning of the race but I don’t like adding anything else to the race morning to-do list.

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Our attempt to get a picture in front of the packet sign.

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While we were there I was able to meet Sasheen and we were even matching:) She is running on Saturday too!

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From there we stopped at Scheels because it sounded like a good idea.

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Ferris wheel first thing.  Knox is our daredevil and it took Brooke a few minutes to warm up to the idea of jumping on.

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She (and her Sour Patch gum… have you tried that by the way?  It is amazing) ended up really loving it (especially at the bottom of the ferris wheel).

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We were busy rushing around the house getting everything ready for soccer whic meant grabbing 10 snacks and calling it dinner but I will post Bangs’ Friend’s beautiful dinner.  Her picture alone made me drool and decide that I needed this soon.  She topped the sweet potatoes with cowboy caviar, cheese, black beans and cilantro.

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FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON.  I am positive this will be the highlight of my week each week.  Watching them was hilarious.

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Andrew did a great job coaching and he’s excited for a season with these energetic four year olds.

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It was pouring rain by the end but they pushed through it (a thing I might be having to do on Saturday morning too;)

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Hot chocolates on the way home to warm up!

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Pretty excited for this!  The forecast calls for snow today so that will be a fun addition to the race possibly ha!

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Trial and error.  The wonderful part of running we all love:)  I feel like it took me YEARS to figure out what is best for my pre-race or pre-long run meal. For a long time I read that people loved using peanut butter before a race so I would try it time after time and have an upset stomach because of it.  With some good ol’ trial and error I learned that fat is not great for me before pushing myself in a race.  I also don’t have a lot of protein before a race because simple carbs are just about all that my stomach can handle so that is what I stick to!  I wanted to put together a list of different meal ideas in case you haven’t found what works best for you yet!

PS  The longer the race/run, the more you eat and many coaches recommend eating four hours before the race but that is REALLY early for morning races so usually 90 minutes to 2 hours is best!  OH and never try anything new before a race… experiment around during your training!

PPS if you are having stomach problems often during your races then try eliminating caffeine, fiber or fake sweeteners!

PPPS Save the cookie for after a race!

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1.  What I do—>  lots of water, a white bagel (sometimes 2 bagels if it is a later race start like Boston) with jam (or honey) about 1.5 hours before the race.  I’ll usually take a gel about 30 minutes before the race start too.   Jason Hartmann eats three plain bagels and a bottle of water three hours before the race starts and another bagel with a banana 90 minutes before the race.  I think we both agree that bagels are the best;)  (source)

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2.  Oatmeal.  Top with some nut butter, bananas, dried fruit, berries, honey or whatever you love… plus it will warm you up before a cold race:) According to this article, Kara Goucher eats a banana, instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal and a couple cups of coffee for her race-day breakfast!

3.  A cooked egg (or two) with a banana or berries!

4.  Applesauce with a side of toast!

5.  Ryan Hall has a Muscle Milk shake with Cytocarb mixed in a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio.  He also does a gel right before the race starts.  (source)

6.  An energy bar (like the ones from Clif)… they have a lot of carbohydrates and are low in fiber.

7.  One of the Brooks’ Beast professional runners (KATIE MACKEY) has pancakes before each and every race.  Her races are usually in the afternoon so if she can’t make pancakes then she has sushi or a sandwich and a banana instead before the race.

8.  Milk bug your stomach?  Try out dry cereal (or cereal with almond milk) with a banana the morning of a big race.

9.  Some people love to do a meal replacement shake before a race because it is simple, around 250 calories and they taste good (like Ensure).

10.  I’ve been known to do two frozen waffles from TJ’s with some syrup before a race and it is delicious and digests well for me!

11.  Josse doesn’t eat grains (very often) so she eats two hard-boiled eggs before a race.

12.  A peanut butter and banana sandwich!  Easy to make the night before and have ready to eat 60-90 minutes before a race!

13.  Don’t love sports drinks?  Try some JUICE!!! Lots of sugar in those:)

14.  Scott Jurek has 3-4 servings of a smoothie, 6-8 ounces soy or coconut milk yogurt mixed with 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder, a banana and 10-12 ounces of water (source).

15.  I have heard from runners that love a pop-tart (or two) before a race!

16.  RICE!!! Have a super sensitive tummy? Rice is PACKED with energy and so simple to digest.  Simple energy!  Back when I was having a lot of GI issues I would make a bunch of rice in bulk and then grab some before a hard workout to eat.  Dathan Ritzenhein eats white rice with a little bit of milk and cinnamon sugar before a race.

17.  Yogurt with granola!

18.  An english muffin with jam or honey or a nut butter!

19.  You know my love for sweet potatoes… I’ve read in a few places to try a cooked sweet potato (I would skip the skin part personally though before a race but I really stay away from fiber).

20.  A tortilla roll-up!  Smear on some jam or almond butter & banana slices and roll it up!

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What have you found to work the best as far as food goes the morning of a race or hard run?  What has NOT worked for you?

Afraid of heights!?!?

A question from Andrew because he really wants to know… “If you could be any animal… what would you be?”

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60 comments

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I usually do a bagel or english muffin with peanut butter and banana. Sometimes I skip the PB. Haven’t tried anything else, but that seems to work for me. I don’t think I could try milk before a race! Save that for after!

I am not too afraid of heights, but I am not a fan of the ferris wheel! Makes me nervous.

I guess I would be a penguin. I like birds but am not a fan of flying, so I could stick to the ground and water that way! Probably a Gentoo penguin……………or a Chinstrap penguin! Fun question!

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Oatmeal was my favorite pre run treat! It’s heavy, but the energy would last foh eva. Sour patch gum is SO good! I love the sour hit at the beginning :)

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I love the soccer pictures – so super cute. I always go with oatmeal and banana before a race. sometimes half a banana, sometimes whole banana, sometimes mixed into the oatmeal OR sometimes I eat the oatmeal first and save the banana for an hour or so later lol. it really depends! I just know those foods work for me so I can play around with when and how I eat them. Oh, and a little bit of peanut butter mixed into the oatmeal.

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Your run so slow pace is faster than I’ve ever run in my life. There goes my esteem for the day

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You know what will help your self esteem more than anything? Not comparing.

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Hey Lynn, I read over the beginning of my post and I definitely did not phrase that correctly. I apologize. I compare my pace to others too and feel bad and then I have to remember that everyone’s stories are so different from each other… how long they’ve been running, natural talent, coaching, seasons of life etc and then I feel better. We are all in different places in life and that is what makes life exciting! Running is just one thing I’m sorta okay at and I’m sure you’ve got plenty of things that you do way better than me! Keep loving the run! I’m sorry if I didn’t write my post correctly this morning!

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Lynn – I am confident that Janae does not disclose her paces with the intention to hurt anyone’s self esteem or appear better than anyone. She is simply reporting what her pace was that day for her ability, which can change day to day. Everyone is on their own running journey and it is important to remember paces are only a reflection of everyone’s unique abilities. Janae is a very gifted runner and it is something that she works hard at. I could train 7 days a week and still possibly never hit the paces she is able to hold. Embrace your journey and feel confident that you are always doing your best, no matter your ability. I think you’ll find the running community in general to be very supportive, no matter your own pace =)

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Thank you so much Katelyn for taking the time to write your sweet comment! I really appreciate and I agree about the running community… THE BEST!

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I’m planning on a bagel with jam and a banana. I’m going back-and-forth on the coffee issue. It’s an early race, so I’ll want the caffeine (which I am used to having every day), but on the other hand, sometimes it hurts my stomach if I run too soon after. It’s a dilemma.

I definitely don’t do well with a lot in my stomach before a race. Once I ate a banana 20 minutes before a 5k, and I nearly threw it up again. That was unpleasant.

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Thanks for all of the great meal ideas! Oatmeal and bananas work best for me, then I eat an applesauce package right before the start. I guess I have the appetite of a toddler before racing ;)

If I could be any animal it would be my dog because she seems to have the best life ever, or else a monkey.

Good luck at your race!!

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I am a fan of the bagel with pb, personally. Drink water on the way to the race and a gu 15 minutes before. :)

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Sounds perfect!! Glad you found the best thing for your race morning April! Have a great weekend!

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It’s weird. On days that I have a tough workout in the afternoon, I’ll have a sweet potato/chicken/avocado bowl for lunch, and I’m great–good energy and no bathroom issues. But, I wouldn’t have that meal before a race for some reason! I usually have two mini bagels with jam and some Gatorade before a race. Then 1/2 a gel or some PowerBar chomps maybe 1/2 hour before the race. I’m a big Huma fan where gels are concerned. Strawberry Lemonade is my faaaaaavvvvvv right now!

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I have been eating Fig Newtons prior to races and have been really happy with them so far.

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good idea! Never thought of those!

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That is a great idea Lori… sounds delicious too!

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I am all about the plain bagel with jam or cinnamon raisin bagel. Bananas are great too. Oatmeal I find has too much fiber for me so I avoid it!

Need coffee too but I must allow myself multiple bathroom trips if you know what I mean ;)

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Soft pretzels are my go to. I but a box of frozen superpretzels. I eat one right first thing when I wake up and take a second in the car with me to eat closer to race start. (For full marathons. For half I just eat one)

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I NEED THOSE SWEET POTATO NACHOS IN MY LIFE, ASAP.

Have a great weekend!!

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Another great list for me to bookmark! Some good ideas to try out. I usually have peanut butter toast with banana. I cannot have too much liquid in my stomach before I run. Smoothies for me are a definite no go!

Good luck tomorrow!

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PBJ Bagels, PB Bagels, plain Bagels, and Clift Bars work just perfectly fine for me. Cheese will make my stomach upset before a race / long run.

Heights are only scary to me only If I’m on a open balcony, because I start feeling this weird sensation that I could fall. If I’m flying on a plane or behind any glass that protects me, then I wont get scared at all. I’ve been told that’s vertigo.

If I could be an animal I would be a cat. They’re so independent and everybody loves them (haha).

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I usually do some kind of simple carb- bagel, cereal with a little milk, English muffin, or even a few crackers. I can’t tolerate bananas or PB before a run but I love them afterwards! At the Boston marathon last year I saw people eating avocados before the race and it looked like a good idea! Kinda wanna try it sometime.

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AVOCADOS…. I have never seen that but I think I would love that. I might have to try that Angie! THANKS! Glad you have found what works best for you! Have a great weekend!

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I always eat low sugar maple and brown sugar oatmeal with a huge spoonful of peanut butter mixed in and sliced banana – I’ve done this for a long time and probably will never change it. I will also say that for my dinner the night before I always make fettucini alfredo w/ chicken. I will also never change that either! Somehow both those meals work well for my body!

Part of me would love to be a dog – but some dogs are dealt a horrible life (breaks my heart in a million pieces). Dogs love unconditionally and I love to make people happy (plus they can be great running partners!) so I would go with dog in hopes that I was with a loving owner. (did I give this too much thought? hahaha)

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All the bagels!

I totally struggle eating while training, let alone racing. Use these a lot for training on the bike. You can add in savory or sweet mix ins and they digest well!
http://blog.skratchlabs.com/blog/cinnamon-apple-rice-cakes

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HA I love that Scheel’s – I use to go there for work and always took a selfie with the bear out front.

My go to pre race food is usually toast with PB. Maybe a banana. And if I’m feeling fancy, a little beet juice.

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I’ve found dairy to be one of the few things that doesn’t sit well in my stomach before running long. These are all great ideas and I think I’m going to try a few. I’ve actually been looking for different breakfast ideas.

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Love this post! Thanks for sharing! I seem to be having issues tolerating things that I used to do well on. Boo! This is a great resource to help figure it out!

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LAME… it is strange how our body’s can change with what works too! I’ve had that experience too! Have an awesome weekend Bridgette!

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Is that Brooke’s arm around Andrew during the soccer game? How sweet! She must be so proud that their coach is her step dad :)

I am with Kara Goucher on pre race fuel. I always have oatmeal with banana and raisins mixed in. Found my perfect fuel source! I tried a bagel with peanut butter once and let’s just say I was lucky to finish the race. Wheat and fats combined do not sit well with me prior to a race. I can, however, add a bit of peanut butter to my oatmeal, as long as it is 3 hours pre race.

Have a wonderful weekend <3

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That is her arm wrapped around him:) She adores him! Sounds like the perfect pre-race fuel…. SO glad you have found what works for your body! Have an awesome weekend Tara!

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Ohhh thanks for the tip about rice. I have a super sensitive stomach and constantly get nervous about eating before races and usually just have a bagel. I think the rice might be an even better option for me though!

Hope you have a perfect race!

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I usually eat a bagel with peanut butter before a race, but frozen waffles sound good too. Have a wonderful race this weekend!!!

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Little kids playing soccer is the cutest thing ever! I used to love going to my little sister’s games and the ones for the girls I used to nanny. So much entertainment and so many good picture opportunities. I want that sour patch gum! I’m sure I would love it. Have a great race this weekend :)

Oh, and if I could be any animal I would be a cat, because you get to sleep most of the day and just get your belly rubbed and that’s about it.

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Bagel (dry or with pb) – banana, granola bar. Coffee (sometimes spiked :) before races – it did wonders for my last race:D.

I would be a lon

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Love these pre-race meal ideas! I have oatmeal almost every morning no matter what my agenda is like. It keeps me full for hours! I sweeten it with a little applesauce and top it with ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, and berries. It’s delicious and nutritious!

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I love a small peanut butter and jelly sandwich with hot tea. It makes my muscles feel warmed up when race day is chilly. If it’s an out of town race, I bring a PB clif bar and hot tea can be made anywhere :) I’ve learned that is the only thing that I can tolerate.

Animal I would be….probably my cat since all he does is sleep, eat, and cuddle. Dream life!

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I usually have a bagel with a little bit of peanut butter. Or just a banana depending on how I feel. I love your list though!

I am not really afraid of heights but sometimes they give me some anxiety.

I think I would choose a monkey because it would be a lot of fun!

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I have 2 favorite pre-race breakfasts. Frozen waffles with a smear of almond butter and banana slices. Or oatmeal (or rice cereal) with banana. I can’t do a bagel pre-race… Tried it once but it feels like my mouth is too dry to be able to chew up and swallow it.

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Yes, terrified of heights.
I eat one dry eggo before a race. I think.
Any animal? Today I would like to be a deep ocean diving animal. I’ve always wondered what’s down there.

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My stomach cannot handle solid food the morning of a race. I’ve learned some tough lessons and now I just stick with gels the morning of. I’m pretty careful the night before, too.

I am not afraid of heights. Love Ferris wheels!

I’ve always loved the big cats – lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, etc. I’d be a cheetah so I could run fast!

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Biggest lesson I have learned for what NOT to do before a race? Pizza.

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HAHAH I really want to hear the full story about this!

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Morning of the race, I try to eat PLAIN cereal, no milk such as Special K or Cheerios. Occasionally I can stomach a bagel, toast, or a banana, but I tend to get side stitches easily so less is better for me.

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2hours prior: Rice cereal made with water with honey, almond butter and sea salt on top with a side of banana. One cup of coffee then sip a sports drink until about 30 minutes to race time. If I feel hungry close to the race a chia gel or a small (those sample size ones from expos) cliff bar-type thing.

Good luck tomorrow.

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What a perfect topic for me right now!! I am seriously clueless as to what I should eat before Boston since it’s a late start! All my training runs have been at 5am so I haven’t had a chance to practice with the timeline. I have conditioned myself to be able to eat oatmeal at 4am but I know I’ll need to eat more than just that. I see most people suggest bagel with pb or banana. Maybe I’ll try that over the next week instead of oatmeal to see if I can tolerate that as well.

P.s. I always eat pizza the night before long runs so I do it for races, too! Haha! I swear there’s something about the carbs and fat that make it the right fuel for me! :-D

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So I know this isn’t for everyone, but I have always had trouble running after eating, even if it’s like 2 hours later. So I am on an eating schedule wherein I eat a big meal an hour or two before bed, and then I don’t eat anything before running in the morning. This has always worked great for me as long as I still get all my carbs in.

If I could be any animal, I would probably be a housecat. Boring, I know, but my cat seems extremely happy with her life.

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I am so glad that has worked so well for you Grant! Love hearing how everyone does it!!!

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Same here Grant. I eat a large, carb heavy dinner as late as possible the night before a race and eat nothing in the morning even when running marathons and ultras. It works for me.

~ ~ and for Andrew…I would be a cheetah, beautiful, elegant, independent and fast :)

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My favorite thing to have is a toasted bagel (or bread if no bagels. Bagels are not common where I live so it’s difficult) with butter on one half and a smatter of pb or almond butter on the other. Sometimes sliced banana. Other times I’ll smear leftover steam sweet potato on it. SO GOOD! I’ve trained my belly to be able to have this 2 hours beforehand. Oatmeal is a no-go for me because the high carb % leaves me feeling very “low” after about an hour. Not everyone tolerates oatmeal the same-there was a study done on the rate that people digest/burn oatmeal and I’m in that small category of people who can’t handle the carb load…..that being said, I do have it for breakfast (I’ve been practicing having it because I do love it) but am sure to put in some protein like chopped raw cashews or a spoon of nut butter. Also, I put in chia seeds and a few spoons of amaranth puffs (because they are gross plain and I need to use them up.) Then I add some granola on top because I’m a creamy/crunchy mixer upper.

Soccer pictures!! so cute!!

Have a great race day!!!

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I love ferris wheels, most of the time there’s a great view from the top. The kids look pretty excited about soccer.

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Just came across this and thought of your race tomorrow. http://tv.salomon.com/story/wonderland#overlay

Enjoy the journey!!

PS Hope I did not do anything wrong about sharing the link. Sorry if I did.

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A bagel feels like too much when I try to eat one. I either go for toast with sunflower seed butter and berries or oatmeal with nuts and berries. Peanut butter repeats as do bananas. (And they never used to bother me).

I am afraid of heights but I love the Ferris wheel. I did trapeze to help ease the fear. It helped somewhat.

I think I would like to be a tiger or Panther. I love big cats.

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I’ve been experimenting with some recipes from Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook. There’s a good muffin and banana bread recipe!

And I would probably be a cheetah! Something fast!

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How do you manage to run and read?! I feel like that’s just asking for me to injure myself. What are you reading right now? Hope it stays dry for you this weekend! I’ll be over here in San Diego cheering you on!

To answer Andrew: I’d be a cat. Lie in the sun all day and nap. Nothing better.

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I have such a sensitive stomach!!! I think I’m still working through some kinks, but I typically do a plain white bagel with peanut butter about 2 hours before my race. I really don’t like the taste of it though…too dry and I have to force myself to eat it so it takes a looooong time to get it all down. I also drink one cup of black coffee (the sweeteners really don’t sit well on my stomach).

Afraid of heights? – I like going up, but HATE coming down. One time I was working on a ladder pulling off siding and I felt totally fine with heights until one minute the ladder pulled away from the house for a second and then I got so scared I started shaking and couldn’t get down…ever since then, I’m so scared of coming down from heights.

Animal – I would be a turtle (ohh the irony of a runner wanting to be a turtle!) because you have a hard protective shell, have to slow down and appreciate the small things, and live a pretty long life on land and/or in the water! :)

Good luck with your race!!! I’m racing the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago this Sunday morning with my husband and it’s his FIRST race ever!!! :)

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I love peanut butter, and thankfully it agrees with my stomach before a race :-). I usually have toast or some type of bread with pb and /or a banana, depending on the length of the race and the time I have to wait around.
I have a question for you. I have been running for a long time, and I used to be a lot faster. It could be my age (lol), but I’m determined to get at least at little bit faster again. Do you have any tips you can share to get your pace up again without getting injured?
Good luck today on your race!

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For my first two half marathons I ever did, I ate cold pizza prior to the race. LOL I have no clue where this idea came from, but I would NOT recommend it. Now I do two frozen waffles with coconut oil, PB and banana made into a sandwich. Then one date/espresso/chia seed energy ball right before.

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Janae!!! We so matched and you SO made this race such an amazing and memorable experience for me! Because if you I ALWAYS have a bagel with jam on it before my taxes and of course… A singer waffle!! The same ones Brooky-babe almost shoplifted at packet pick-up 😂😂 I really just adore you and I thanks for making me a part of your blog!! Major life highlight 😍😍

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*races *stinger waffles (it’s late and I’m tired… I’ll blame those things for my flubs!!)

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