A blog by runners. For runners.

Pre-run breakfasts to please every palate

Fuel yourself with homemade (healthy) bagel sandwiches.Have you ever set off on a run only to discover a half mile in that you totally didn’t eat enough to fuel yourself? It happens to me — a lot. Especially on those early morning runs when I feel too groggy to whip up something small in the kitchen. It’s the worst on race day, too — the nerves get involved and I’m lucky if I can get anything down at all.

A while back, Jen explored a few light options for runners who take to the trails in the AM hours. I’d like to expand on her suggestions and offer up a few meals that work for me and – hopefully – you. Be sure to test and modify these meals as needed for your own unique dietary needs and potential digestive upsets.

  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal is my golden standard when it comes to breakfast before running. Take note, though, you might want to eat it 30 minutes or more before your workout. Or perhaps make a small batch. Cook old fashioned oats in water and combine with either peanut butter or yogurt. You can toss in a few berries, raisins, or banana slices for good measure.
  • Overnight Oats: Or you can skip the cooking and let the whole thing sit overnight. A lot of overnight oat recipes you’ll find on the web are made using Greek or nonfat yogurt. If you are sensitive to dairy, consider these vegan alternatives that use ingredients like almond milk and bananas to moisten and bulk up.
  • Cereal: If your stomach is sensitive to fiber, you can also pour a bowl of low-fiber cereal and splash on some low-fat milk or nondairy alternative. This meal is handy if you’re in a hurry and just want something mindless to grab. I recommend Rice Krispies, cornflakes, etc. — anything with less than 1 gram of fiber per serving.
  • PBJ: One of my favorite pre-run meals is a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. Sometimes I only eat half if I’m not going particularly far and I save the other half for post-run enjoyment. If you’re allergic to peanuts, try almond butter or even sunflower butter — equally tasty options.
  • English Muffin: I sometimes have trouble eating early in the mornings because, well, I feel nauseous. Does this ever happen to you? I found that toasted English Muffins go down more easily than toasted or plain bread, so I usually toss one in the toaster and top with low-fat cream cheese or nut butter. Then I drizzle with a little honey in all those nooks and crannies.
  • Waffles: No, now isn’t the time to load up on a thick Belgian waffle with all the fixings. However, if you keep some toaster waffles in the freezer, you’re golden. Literally! Toast one or two and spread with nut butter. I also like a drizzle of honey (see a theme?) for some natural sugar/glycemic boost.
  • Homemade Energy Bar: Think ahead and make yourself a stock of wholesome, homemade energy bars for easy grab-and-go. Through trial and error you can find a combination that works best for you. Just substitute like-ingredients. For example, honey can be swapped with maple syrup, peanut butter with almond butter, raisins with other dried fruit, and so on.
  • Sensitive Stomach Pleasers: If you just can’t get away with eating bread or some of these items for your sensitive stomach, check out these gut-friendly Ironman breakfast recipes. Sure, combining cereal with applesauce or chowing on quinoa and sweet potatoes in the AM hours sounds a little strange, but each mix was crafted with care so you get the energy and nutrition you need without the fallout.

Written by Ashley Marcin.