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5 Best Pre-race Breakfast Foods To Fuel Your Half Marathon

You want to find the perfect pre-race breakfast food to fuel your race, whether it be a full marathon, half marathon, 10k, or 5k.

Everyone gets all get a worked up on race day morning. The excitement is flowing, we feel fresh from an effective taper, and nerves are high.

Related: How to Survive Your First Half Marathon

More than a few runners are unable to eat anything the morning before a race without suffering severe digestive distress during the race. If you are one of those runners, then fueling during the race becomes your primary strategy to avoid hitting the wall.

The purpose of eating a breakfast on race morning is to top off your body’s carbohydrate stores, which are partially depleted after an overnight fast.

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You should eat your pre-race breakfast around 2-4 hours before the race starts. If you eat any earlier, you might be hungry again before the race. Any later and the food won’t be completely digested before the race starts and you could risk upsetting your stomach.


What is the best food to eat for your race morning breakfast before a half marathon?

The best food to eat on the morning of a half marathon is easy to digest, doesn’t upset your stomach, has plenty of carbohydrate to top off your glycogen stores, and is easy to prepare the morning of a race.

Most of these foods don’t provide all of the carbs you will need for your pre-race breakfast, so feel free to combine more than one item. Once you find a combination or food that works, stick with it to ease your mind and your stomach!

Along with your race day breakfast you should drink 12-16 ounces of water, juice, or sports drink to hydrate before your race.

Related: The Complete Nutrition Guide to Fueling a Half Marathon


5 Runner-Friendly Breakfast Ideas for Race Morning

Are you ready for the foods?

These 5 breakfasts are the tried-and-true best performing race breakfasts for runners. They are easy on the stomach and provide plenty of carbohydrates, and are perfect to eat the morning of your half marathon or full marathon.

Bagel

best half marathon breakfast food

Carb Content: 56 grams

Advantages:

  • Very high in carbs
  • Familiar breakfast food
  • Typically found in hotels for breakfast
  • Easy to prepare, eat and digest

Disadvantages:

  • Chewy, which can intensify nerves for some runners
5 Best Race Morning Breakfast Foods to Fuel Your Half Marathon on Race Day

Banana

best half marathon breakfast food

Carb Content: 30 grams

Advantages:

  • High in carbs
  • Travel Friendly
  • Easy to eat

Disadvantages:

  • Not as high in carbs as alternatives

Energy Bar

Carb Content: 18 grams

Advantages:

  • Zero preparation
  • Portable and easy to pack

Disadvantages:

  • Too much fat, protein, and fiber for some runners
  • Not as high in carbs as some alternatives

Recommendations:


Meal Replacement Drink

best half marathon breakfast food

Carb Content: 28 grams

Advantages:

  • Balance of protein and carbs
  • Easy to consume on a nervous stomach

Disadvantages:

  • Requires either a shaker cup or blender to mix

Recommendation: My favorite meal replacement shake is Herbalife24 Formula 1 Sport + Protein Drink Mix

Mix 2 scoops Formula 1 Sport + 2 scoops Protein Drink Mix for the perfect meal replacement.
Mix 2 scoops Formula 1 Sport + 2 scoops Protein Drink Mix for the perfect meal replacement.

Oatmeal

best half marathon breakfast food

Carb Content: 30 grams

Advantages:

  • High in carbs
  • Familiar breakfast food
  • Typically found in hotels for breakfast
  • Easy to prepare, eat and digest
  • Filling

Disadvantages:

  • Requires preparation

Recommendation: Old Fashioned Oats

Author’s Note: My tried-and-true pre-race breakfast consists of 1/2c. oats, 1 TBSP Peanut Butter, 1/2 TBSP Nutella, and a Sliced Banana. I combine 2 of the best foods! And my oatmeal tastes like a no-bake cookie. Mmmm…


5 Best Pre-Race Breakfast Foods to Fuels Your Half Marathon Race Day
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Want some more great fueling strategies? Grab my fueling strategy cheat sheet!

What is your favorite half marathon pre-race breakfast?

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RunningMyBestLife

Happy Running,

Alexis

About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>

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2 thoughts on “5 Best Pre-race Breakfast Foods To Fuel Your Half Marathon”

  1. My fastest and most amazing 13-mile run was actually in practice. Why it was so amazing is that I PR’ed the course by 25 minutes and I’d been running it for 5 years! What I ate before that run was a half bagel and a donut. The donut was a fluke because I hardly ever eat them but I guess that day it was just the right carb for me. That run was 3 yrs ago and I’ve never fueled with a donut since- just didn’t seem like a habit I wanted to keep- but I’ve also never come close to that speed either.

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