3 Pre-Race Breakfast Ideas {Pump-Up Smoothie, Power Oatmeal, Peanut Butter Banana Toast}

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Just Google "What to eat before a race" and you will find so many options, combos and opinions. I have not tried them all because junk-food is just not an option for Gwen and I, and a small bar or a banana is just NOT ENOUGH to fuel our needs, or fill our stomachs (not that you want your stomach to be "full" before a race but you sure want to be satisfied and get enough calories).

So I want to share with you 3 of our favorite Pre-Race Breakfast ideas, why we love them and when and how we make them!

We change it up between our espresso loaded Pump-Up Smoothie, super endurance Power Oatmeal or simply a quick Peanut butter banana Toast; depending on the race, distance, duration, climate and our stomachs! So lets get into to why.


 photo by Hobie Hiler

photo by Hobie Hiler

The Pump-Up Smoothie

-for short & fast, to mid ultra distance races: 5k-50k

A smoothie has been our Go-To choice for our pre-race (50k-50 miler) breakfast

-but over the years we have tweaked it down to the essentials, eliminating ingredients that do not equate to what works best for us. Saying that- this is the recipe that works best for us, and we encourage you to try it, tweak it and find what works best for you- using this as a starting point.

It is SUPER IMPORTANT to TEST all PRE-RACE food, Race Fuel and Race Hydration BEFORE RACE DAY. So please do not try this recipe for the first time just before your race.

We always do a "Mock Race" Nutrition day a few weeks out from a race if we are experimenting with anything new in our diet or hydration. This allows us to trial and error everything before the big day, because trust us.. you do not want any surprises during your race!

What we found with smoothies was that they are amazing for getting easy to digest whole-food fuel in before a race, but they also make us so hydrated that we had issues with peeing too much! So what we did was make the smoothie as calorie dense as possible by using specific ingredients that pack in nutrients without excess water. 

Think Dates, Bananas, Oats and Sweet Potatoes. 

We also found that we like caffeine pre-race but sometimes drinking our espresso shots alone before a race, (with already fragile stomachs because of race-nerves) was too harsh on our tummies. So we added the espresso to the smoothie which eases the rate at which we absorb the caffeine and makes it easy on our stomach. Win-Win.

So here it is, our PRE-RACE SMOOTHIE recipe with a few variations depending on what you like and what you have on-hand.

They really are worth the $, we love ours and use it daily.

To make this smoothie right you need FROZEN bananas and a pretty good blender. If you do not have either, go ahead and experiment with it anyway, and we suggest making it and then putting it in the refrigerator to chill before you eat it.

When making it with frozen bananas and a good blender (we use a Vitamix) it is perfectly thick, creamy and cold. :) It really is best to use a high-speed good blender for this smoothie and for all smoothies.. it makes a HUGE difference and we cannot say enough about the Vitamix. We love that thing!

 

PRE RACE PUMP-UP SMOOTHIE:

RECIPE: Serves 1. Prep Time 5 mins. Total time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Frozen Bananas (Large, ripe with spots, peeled and frozen)

  • ¼ cup quick Oats / Old-Fashioned Oats or Cooked Sweet Potato

  • 3 medjool Dates (pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in hot water)

  • 1 cup of your favorite Non-Dairy Milk (Almond, Soy, Coconut, etc)

  • 2oz Espresso (one double shot)  or 1 teaspoon Matcha Green Tea Powder

    • If you cannot get espresso you can substitute in 1 cup cold brew coffee or iced/cold coffee in place of the espresso AND non-dairy milk. 

    • Optional to add a few extra ingredients for more calories or fats:

    • 1-2 tablespoons Almond butter or nut-butter of choice (optional)

    • 1-2 tablespoons Chia Seeds

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare frozen bananas 12 hours before making, cook sweet potato before hand if using, and soak dates in hot water 5 minutes if you do not have a good blender.
  2. Make the espresso shots, (or measure Matcha powder) then add to the blender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients to the blender and blend on high until creamy and very very smooth. (Usually about 60 seconds in a Vitamix).
  4. Pour into a glass jar and enjoy immediately or as you like before your race!
  5. Good luck, and know that this smoothie will help you move out there :)
  6. Make sure you have time to go to the bathroom before your race ;)

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Power Oatmeal Bowl

-for Really Long Races and Adventures!

Last year when we started to run longer distances 50 Milers and up, we started to experiment with eating Oatmeal before races, given the fact that we will be out on the trails a long time and it is often necessary to have a proper meal before hand.

We now LOVE this POWER OATMEAL breakfast bowl for our pre-race meal if our race is not early in the morning, or if it is longer than a 50k. We defiantly try to eat this one at least 90 minutes prior to the start, to give enough time to digest fully without feeling any of that in our stomaches.

We like to have a variety of food sources in this bowl, from simple and easy to digest carbohydrates from fruit (berries and bananas) along with more complex and slow-burning carbohydrates from oats and sweet potatoes. We even add walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and Nuttzo for Omega-3 fats, and because they are freaking tasty in an oatmeal bowl.

There is quite some FIBER in this breakfast, so knowing that we suggest that you are accustomed to eating oatmeal bowls in the morning (pre-run even) before you try this out on race day. The fiber content of whole-foods does make you poop, which is a good thing remember.. However on race-day, sometimes that can be quite difficult to manage.. but love this breakfast and do really well eating in before long races, we just make sure that we have access to a toilet after we eat. But hey, we also have very regular and predictable bowl movements which makes all this planning super easy for us! That is one of the biggest benefits of eating a plant-based diet, we actually get enough fiber, (did you know that 97% of people [Americans & Europeans] do not get enough Fiber) and without fiber you cannot be truly healthy. I can go on and on about that but I should probably direct you now to a really amazing podcast on Fiber and Health & Longevity from Thought For Food Lifestyle - so if you want to learn about it listen to that here!

Power Oatmeal Bowl 

RECIPE: Serves 1. Prep Time 5 mins. Cook Time 10 minutes. Total time: 15 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 1 cup rolled Oats (old-fashioned rolled or quick oats: we prefer old-fashioned)
  • 1/2 cup pre-cooked Sweet Potato or Yams (if you cannot pre-cook see step 1 of directions)
  • 2-3 cups liquid of choice (we usually use 1 cup soy milk & 1-2 cups water)
  • 1 Banana sliced
  • 1/2 cup Berries of choice (we usually use frozen blueberries)
  • handful of raw Walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons Chia seeds and/or flaxseeds

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-cook your Yams before hand, steaming them is usually the fastest and we often make them the day before. If you do not have time to pre-cook them, you can chop them very small or shred them and add them raw to step 2 below; they should cook in about 10 - 15 minutes with the oats.
  2. Combine Oats and liquid in a pot and cook over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. There is no right or wrong way to eat oats, sometimes we simply mix them with soy milk and heat them for 1 minute, other times we cook them for 15 minutes to make them very soft and hot. It is up to you.
  3. If using frozen berries add them now along with the chia/flaxseeds; and mix well until berries are thawed; remove from heat. (if you are using fresh berries add them after)
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with walnuts and sliced banana (and fresh berries if you are using fresh).
  5. ENJOY roughly 60-90 minutes before your race! :)

TOASTS: 

Peanut Butter Banana Toast & Avocado Toast

- For shorter races like 5k up to 50k mid distance ultras.

Gwen really cracks me up with his French translation of Toast, every time he wants to make toast, or asks me if I want toast he says "Do you want A TOAST?" I always laugh because it sounds so funny to me to have A toast, we usually say "do you want toast?" implying more than one piece I guess.. hahah I just love it when he says that, and he says it often as we have been eating these Toast options often before runs and short races.

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Toast is a super classic Pre-Race meal for so many runners, marathon runners and even ultra runners. However it has not been our go-to breakfast because it usually is not exactly what we are used to eating, nor want come race day.

Part of good race nutrition (day before and day of) is eating things that you eat on a regular basis, so your body is familiar with digesting those things. And we do not eat toast for breakfast often at all, actually pretty much never. .. for us toast is more of a mid-day snack, but there have been races where eating Peanut Butter Banana Toast is exactly what I needed, and even Avocado Toast!

For instance last weekend we were traveling and did not have a blender to make our regular pump-up smoothie, and so we made toast before we ran the Mont Saint Michel Marathon here in France.

I also once ate avocado toast before a 50k that started in the afternoon, as I love avocado toast in the afternoon! 

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Peanut Butter Banana Toast 

RECIPE: Serves 1. Prep Time 5 mins. Total time: 5 minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

we love these 2GO packs!

  • 2 slices bread of choice 
  • Peanut Butter or Nut Butter of Choice (we use Peanut Pro Nuttzo) to taste 
  • 1 ripe Banana, sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toast bread to desired darkness to make Toast!
  2. Cover toast with Peanut Butter, we use one Nuttzo Pouch per slice.
  3. Top toast with slices of banana 
  4. Enjoy!

Surprisingly this pre-race meal digests pretty fast and I can eat it 45 mins before a race if needed! :)

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Avocado Toast 

I don't need to tell you guys how to do this..Just look at photos and imitate! lol Enjoy! <3


BONUS Idea! Pre-Run-Cookie

Learn to Cook and Eat like us with our EAT TO RUN COOKBOOK!

EAT TO RUN COOKBOOK +Nutrition Guide - Ebook
14.99

Hey, it’s Katie and Gwen of Plant Positive Running and this is a Cookbook for Runners, by Runners!

We are two mountain trail running crazy, positive, healthy, fit people who have finally found a way of eating that has brought us major gains on the trails and on the track!

OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE YOU TO MAKE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT WILL ALLOW YOU TO REACH YOUR PEAK HEALTH AND ATHLETIC POTENTIAL WHILE DECREASING YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ON THE PLANET.
 

As you know, there are a million running nutrition philosophies, running cookbooks and running weight loss plans out there these days so we know it can be quite confusing.

We are not claiming that our philosophy is the golden nugget and will cure all for you, however we are positive that it is the most healthful way to eat to stay healthy and running into old age.  Let’s not forget that it is also the best way to eat to avoid chronic diseases that will ultimately stop us from running later on; like cancer, arthritis, stroke and heart disease!  The science is behind everything we believe in!

The aim of this book is to help you cut through the confusion regarding optimal nutrition for runners so you can start eating foods that will actually help you as an athlete! (it also will help you if you are not a runner).

Our promise to you is that every recipe in this book is something that we eat regularly and believe in with all our hearts, legs…. and brains because that matters too.

The recipes are designed to help you perform better as a runner, to increase your speed, to accelerate recovery and improve your endurance! The recipes are formulated to give you the most abundant energy and the most optimal nutrition, to save you time cooking, and to be extremely satisfying and delicious.

These recipes not only for runners, they are also for anyone who wants to feel better, lose weight and keep the weight off, have more energy, clearer skin, better sleep and a clearer mind.  


You will not find any animal products, oils or processed foods in this book because these are not foods that lead to success.

We put so much time into this cookbook, we wrote it, designed it and edited it ourselves (editing help from some amazing friends) but did not receive the help of a designer of professional book editor! Our heart and soul went into this book and we know you will love it!

 

It starts off with a basic introduction to high carb plant based nutrition and the do's and don't of the lifestyle. It includes a table of contents, an example shopping list and shopping tips and so much more! There are breakfast recipes, 16 smoothie recipes, easy lunch and dinner recipes, more formal dinner recipes for when you have time or want to impress guests! 

Right now this is a digital download, it is in the form of a PDF, so it is easily viewed on a phone, ipad or tablet (and computer of course).

We really want to get it printed and will be working on getting it published and printed within the next year. 

Thank you so much for your support and we are so happy for you to start making healthy food and empowering yourself with this knowledge!

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