The Perfect Pre-Marathon Breakfast to Fuel Your Next Race

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Last Updated on December 16, 2023

The last thing you want is to fail to complete a race you have prepared for a long time due to an upset stomach or excessive fatigue.

The last thing you want is to fail to complete a race you have prepared for a long time due to an upset stomach or excessive fatigue.

When running, most of the fuel you spend comes from the stored fat and carbohydrates in the body. This comes from the food you ate days before the run. 

While the food you eat in the morning on the run won’t be stored as glycogen, it will influence the fuel mixture your muscles will utilize during the run.

For example, when you eat a high-carb pre-marathon breakfast, you will burn a higher proportion of carbohydrates, which will come in handy in ensuring you endure the race and you have speed.

When you combine carbohydrates with protein and fat, you run longer, raise your blood glucose levels and keep hunger at bay.

You must eat a rich breakfast combining carbs, fats, and protein to improve endurance, delay fatigue, and increase performance.

Which are the best foods that have the right combination? Here they are:


Pancakes are a quick, hot, and healthy breakfast. To get the highest levels of nutrients from them, swap white flour for buckwheat.

Eating what you have prepared is always wise, so you should plan for the pancakes the night before the big race. Mix 100g flour, two eggs, 300ml milk, and sunflower or vegetable oil.

You should then store the mixture covered in the fridge, then prepare the pancakes in the morning on your griddle.

To make the pancakes sweet and healthy, sprinkle sliced bananas and blueberries on top. Don’t go the traditional way of sprinkling refined sugars, as you will simply be taking empty calories, and you don’t want this on your marathon day.


Muesli is packed with fiber, protein, whole grains, and antioxidants, making it the perfect long-run fuel.

As mentioned above, eating what you have prepared is always good, so you should take a trip to a healthy food store, pick out nuts, fruit, and grains, and make your muesli mix at home.

The best way to enjoy your muesli is to let it sit overnight and eat it on the morning of the race.

To do this, portion 2/3 cup of the mix into a small-lidded jar, then cover it with 2/3 cup milk or any other of your preferred healthy liquid. Top the mix with frozen blueberries, screw the lid, and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, you will have a chilled, soaked, and softened muesli that will be refreshing to take before the big race.

If you want to take things a notch higher, prepare homemade granola. To do this, roll 500g of grains, seeds, and nuts in 2tb of honey, maple, vegetable oil, or golden syrup.

You should then spread the mixture over baking sheets and bake at low heat for 15 minutes.

If you love dried fruits, add them to granola before you bake it for a further 15 minutes.


Do you fancy a protein-rich meal before a race? You should try scrambled eggs. If you would love to have the right mix that delivers both carbs and protein, top scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. A squeeze of lemon and a dusting of pepper also won’t hurt.

For an iron-packed breakfast, add ham and spinach to your eggs.

Fresh smoothies

The beauty of smoothies is they are easy on the stomach. They digest faster and deliver energy much quicker than solid foods.

Smoothies also allow you to get creative, where you can mix various fruits and make juice from them.

To dominate the race, you need a high-energy smoothie blend. An ideal smoothie should contain the following:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 2 tb of ground flaxseed
  • ½ of your preferred frozen berries
  • Some natural, plain applesauce

The best way to make the smoothie is to prepare it the night before, then put it in the fridge and only blend it in the morning.


Known as the king of race day breakfast, you can’t go wrong with taking porridge as your breakfast of choice during a marathon. The most attractive thing about oatmeal is that it contains 70% carbohydrates, which you need to fuel your run.

The best way to go about it is to prepare the porridge the night before. To do this, you need the following:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of oatmeal
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 tb of Stevia
  • Raisins

You need to heat your porridge the following day and eat it up.

To make your porridge a much healthier and heartier pre-run breakfast, add sliced banana to it.

Breakfast bars

Although they are advertised as healthy, most aren’t, and they shouldn’t be your first choice. However, they can come in and save the day if you are too busy to prepare a proper breakfast.

When in the stores, pay close attention to ingredients, so you don’t buy useless bars that don’t have any nutrients you need for your body.

Some of the excellent bars you can consider are those containing the perfect balance of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Restock your reserves after the race

 While you must eat a proper breakfast to finish your marathon, don’t forget that you also need to recover properly after the race.

Right off the bat, you need to rehydrate with isotonic drinks, and there are many of them you can go for. Find out more about these drinks here.

Data shows that the first hour after the marathon is the most crucial as, during this time, the body tries to replenish the glycogen levels at up to 3 times the normal rate.

Due to this, you should take a post-marathon meal within the first hour of completing your race.

For the perfect results, ensure that your post-workout meal contains a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates and proteins that will restock your energy stores and help your muscles recover faster and safely.

Excellent food choices include peanut butter on a banana, banana sandwich, energy bar, or fed bean bun.

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