5 Great Pre-race Breakfast Ideas!

One of the crucial decisions on race morning is what to eat for breakfast. Ideally, you want to give yourself about 4 hours between breakfast and racing (to allow food to digest and store the energy from the breakfast). While this may be ideal, realistically many races start so early in the morning that you are left with more like 2 to 3 hours to work with.

5 Great Pre-Race Breakfast Ideas

When I race, I usually try to make sure I have eaten my breakfast about 3 hours prior. I am superstitious so I ALWAYS have the same breakfast on race day – a bagel and cream cheese. You want to make sure that your body takes in carbohydrates and that your meal is easily digested so you don’t run into GI issues during the race. Another note, if you drink coffee, make sure you do so with plenty of time to spare.

Since you can sometimes be as superstitious as me and get stuck in a pre-race breakfast rut, I thought I would offer up some great pre-race breakfast ideas:

  1. Cinnamon raisin bagel with some peanut butter (Teddy’s All Natural Peanut butter is our family’s favorite!) and sliced banana on top.
  2. A nice warm bowl of oatmeal with sliced banana (bananas are relatively low in fiber, which is a good thing on race day- trust me!) or a little fruit preserves mixed in.
  3. A breakfast smoothie or shake can also be a good idea–provided that it is low in protein, fat, and fiber. You want about 80% of your pre-race calories to come from carbohydrates. Protein and fat take longer to digest, and fiber–well, you know the deal with that one! 😉
  4. Your favorite energy bar— most of these will fit the above nutritional requirements. My all-time favorite energy bars are Larabars. They are made with only whole food ingredients (usually 7 ingredients or less). They are healthy, filling, AND tasty!
  5. The banana— an old favorite and great nutritional choice!

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  1. says

    I’m like you and eat the same thing before every race and even weekend long runs: PB&J toast! I’m terrible about reading labels and nutrition facts, so I don’t know how great a choice that is, except the peanut butter! It’s on everyone’s list!

  2. says

    Great suggestions!

    I have only done one race, the Reggae Marathon half in Jamaica (and we walked it lol) but I had a bagel with peanut butter and banana before that. I’m starting to get a bad taste left over in my mouth after peanut butter lately before workouts so if we do another race, I’ll be sure to try the bagel and cream cheese.

  3. says

    LOVE every pre-run breakfast idea here other than the smoothie one — I tried to run after having a smoothie just last weekend and decided that I just can’t handle it, going forward. It makes my tummy all jumbly somehow…and I’d had the smoothie HOURS before the run but it still sorta messed with me. Weird right? But like you said – choose what works for you and stick with it! (and now I want a cinnamon raisin bagel with PB, mm!)

  4. deely617 says

    I am an early morning runner so I don’t eat before these runs. However, banana, toast, peanut butter, and oatmeal are all favorites of mine before morning races. I do have a 1 o’clock race in a couple of weeks and I am not sure what I will do for food before it.

  5. says

    I can’t do bananas in the morning – I just keep tasting them! I like oatmeal, ww toast with PB and honey, or a cruncy granola bar. If I have to get to a long race early, I may eat toast at home and a granola bar there. Otherwise I may get hungry before we even start!


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