What is your pre-race meal?

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Hosted by
Scott Warr

A few podcasts ago, we talked with Mark Lantz, Erik Skaden and Jimmy Dean Freeman about their training secrets. Late in the podcast, the topic of pre-race meals came up. We heard some interesting responses, but one fairly uninamous item stood out. Below are these three guys’ typical pre-race intake:

[quote author=”Mark Lantz”]Coffee. Early in the season, maybe some toast or something. Sometimes, later in the season…I won’t eat nothin'[/quote] [quote author=”Erik Skaden”]Coffee. I’ll show up at the start of the run…and then use gels…and eat something substantial afterwards.[/quote] [quote author=”Jimmy Dean Freeman”]Coffee. On race day, I either get up like 3 1/2 hours before race start and I’ll do some yogurt and a green shake…and then literally go back to bed. OR I won’t do anything, and I’ll hit the gels about five minutes into the race.[/quote]

Hmm, noticing a trend? Well, no coffee for me! I (Tim) prefer a small wheat bagel with some peanut butter and honey washed down with some water.

Now please share YOUR favorite pre-race meal, snack or drink and why you have chosen it.

Below is some reading related material for any of you wishing to dive a little deeper.

PS – did anyone else spot Jimmy Dean in Ultrarunning Magazine’s latest issue?

Join the discussion

10 comments
  • My favorite pre-race or pre long run meal……Oatmeal with a couple of scoops of Muscle Milk by Cytosport, Cake Batter flavor mixed in. Now that’s good eatin !!!! Worth running long just to eat that meal.

  • Depends on the race and what the start is going to be like. If it’s a long, slowish climb from the start, like Bear 100, I can eat my normal breakfast of cottage cheese, half a avocado, tuna, and Udo’s oil without worrying about processing it. If the start is going to be competitive and fast or downhill, I’ll stick with a Clif Bar about an hour before gun time. Coffee is always part of the scene.

  • I used to start with oatmeal a few hours before the race. After reading more into it, I have gone with just water & then a gel as the race is about to start. This has worked much better for me in my past 5 races & I started doing the same on long runs.

  • Lately my standard has been a bannana & a Special K protien shake before a 3+ hour long run (or even shorter speed/hill runs). The bananna gets something on my stomach and the liquid shake digests quickly to give me some energy a few miles in.

    I’ve also done oatmeal or toast (bread or bagel) with almond butter, but the meal almost always includes some sort of fruit (mostly bannanas).

    For the longer runs/races I start early with gels and occasional solids during the run as well.

    I wake up quite hungry and have trained myself to run better with food in my stomach. What was it Jimmy Dean Freeman said? “I ultra run, so I can ultra eat”!!!

  • I used to be able to eat a bagel or two and a banana. After some stomach issues, I have reduced my morning intake to half a bagel and almond butter. Even though I enjoy coffee the rest of the week, I avoid coffee race morning. Hydration on warm days seems to be more of an issue with coffee intake. I never miss an aid station, hitting the potatoes and salt at the first opportunity.

  • Toast with apple butter. Gel if I’ve got any. Can’t stand coffee, so it’s usually Gatorade. Sometimes a banana, but I’ve chucked a few. Also, the banana has an unfortunate association with the smell of that vomit absorbing stuff that the janitors used back in elementary school.

  • I don’t drink coffee – but I do love the smell of it!

    On shorter weekday runs, I have traditionally have 10 oz of muscle milk, but after our interview with Skaden and Lantz, I have been trying to go with just drinking some water – training my body to burn fat. We’ll see how this theory works out.

  • Same as every day…
    Coffee. One triple shot stovetop cooker full.
    Smoothie. Banana, blueberries, ginger, spinach, chia, spirulina, Udo’s Oil, plain yogurt, honey, almond milk.

    Same thing for races and long runs. For short runs I have the smoothie after the run. If the race is away from home and all the smoothie supplies are inaccessible, I go with banana and almond butter toast.

  • Everything I can cram into my mouth! I don’t know why but of late I’m starving!!!

    I have an upset stomach almost every long run and horrible at races. I have taken a pre-race Alka Seltzer and it made an amazing difference with my last race! I will try it again and let you know.

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