Here’s What to Eat During the Week Before Race Day

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We are often creatures of habit, grabbing the same things over and over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Runners often struggle to find enough time to prepared nutritious meals that are both healthy and easy.


Additionally, those with dietary preferences or restrictions might find menu planning even more difficult. Listed below are ideas for each day of the week with plenty of mix and match opportunities.

Runners with higher mileage and/or calories needs can easily double the serving sizes or simply add more fruits and vegetables to their meals.

(Editor’s note: These are options, not requirements listed in order — feel free to mix and match as you see fit.)

Breakfast

  • Vegan – 1 serving of oatmeal with 1 cup of berries
  • Race morning – 1 whole grain bagel with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 piece of in season fruit
  • Fast – 1 cup of granola with ½ cup of milk and a banana
  • Spicy – 2 eggs scrambled with 1 cup of hot salsa and 1 avocado
  • Sweet – 1 cup of greek yogurt topped with ½ cup granola and 1 cup of berries\
  • Plant-based – 2 cups of green smoothie (recipe below)
  • On the go – 2 hard boiled eggs and an apple

Snacks

  • Carrots with hummus
  • Apples with peanut butter
  • Baked tortilla chips with salsa
  • Greek yogurt
  • Kale chips
  • Homemade energy bars (recipe below)
  • Trail mix

Lunch

  • Weekend – Mixed greens with cucumber, tomatoes, dill, and 1 piece of salmon
  • At your desk – Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, side of diced bell peppers and a banana
  • Veggie-heavy – Spinach wrap with avocado, hummus, and lettuce, side of broccoli and kale chips
  • Vegan – Quinoa, baked cubed sweet potato, baked cubed beets, roasted halved brussel sprouts
  • Simple – Tuna, lettuce, tomato in a pita, side of green salad and/or fresh fruit
  • One bowl – Black beans, rice, chicken, salsa, lettuce, and avocado
  • Winter-friendly – Vegetable soup with lentils or lean protein such as chicken

Dinner

  • Grilled – Grilled chicken breasts and summer squash, side of green salad
  • Pre-race dinner – Pasta with marinara or bolognese, side of green salad
  • Non-traditional pre-race dinner – Vietnamese lemongrass beef and noodle salad
  • Beef – Lean steak grilled or broiled, served atop romaine lettuce with tomatoes, red onion, and blue cheese
  • Fish – Sauteed white fish served inside corn tortillas with shredded cabbage and mango salsa (recipe below)
  • Vegan – Stir-fried tofu with broccoli, sweet peppers, onions, greens, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce
  • One pot – Bean chili with diced tomatoes, onions, peppers, chili powder, and cumin. Add mashed pumpkin for creaminess

Green smoothie recipe

Blend ½ cup water, 1 cup green grapes, ½ cup pineapple, ½ banana, 2 cups of spinach, and ½ cup ice. Makes approximately 5 cups.

Homemade energy bars

Mix 1 cup old-fashioned oats, ½ cup peanut butter, ½ cup ground flax seed, ½ cup chocolate chips, ⅓ cup honey, 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then form into balls.

Mango salsa recipe

Dice 1 mango, 2 avocados, ½ to 1 whole jalapeno (depending on your preference of spicy – can be omitted) and ½ small red onion.

Add 1 tablespoon cilantro (more if you love it!), juice from ½ lime, ½ teaspoon of cumin, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Carissa Liebowitz has run the Boston Marathon as well as dozens of marathons and half marathons. You can follow her running adventures on StravaInstagram and her blog.

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