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The Best Meals For Before And After Long Runs

What you eat on your long run day matters.

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There are a lot of rituals I hold fast to before and after a long run. Breakfast is one of them. I must have breakfast and it must be nutrient dense—though not too filling, sweet but not too sweet, and easily transportable should my tummy decide that it will want more later on. I must eat well post-run or I’m a crabby, tired mess all day. It usually involves a few jalapeno kettle chips to settle the stomach before digging into the real meal.

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Here are some of my current favorites for breakfast

Steaming, black coffee. There is always coffee. I don’t care how much it makes me go to the bathroom. I  cannot live without it.

Waffles. 1-2 waffles topped with almond butter, or good quality peanut butter, a light drizzle of Vermont maple syrup or local honey, and a few slices of banana.

Oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter and a tablespoon of honey or Vermont maple syrup.

Did I mention coffee yet?


My post-run faves are

An avocado, banana and yogurt smoothie with a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. Add milk for desired thickness. This is my favorite…after coffee, that is. Depending on how long the run was, I might also add a packet of a recovery drink such as Hammer Recoverite.

Muesli. Once at the end of a 16 miler on a trail in central New Jersey, I stopped at one of my favorite farm-to-table cafes and had a bowl of *muesli. I had never eaten this particular combination of yumminess but I figured I’d give it a try. I was hooked. This take a few minutes to prepare, but will last for a while in the fridge. (That is if the man or boy that also lives in your house doesn’t think it’s his personal bowl of cereal. Yeah, that happened TWICE.) I also eat muesli for breakfast before a long run, because basically it’s cold oatmeal with fruits and nuts.

This recipe is similar to the Fruit and Nut Muesli found on the Epicurious website, but I have made it my own:

1 cup of vanilla yogurt (I use full fat greek yogurt. Good luck finding it at the supermarket…)
1 cup of oats (I prefer old-fashioned for more texture)
½-1 cup of orange juice, pineapple juice, or mango nectar (YUM!)
¼ cup or less of Vermont/NY maple or agave syrup
About 1 cup of milk (any fat percentage will do)
1- 1½  cups of sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup of shredded apples (peeled)
Chopped apples and oranges to your liking
Other chopped fruits like mango, peaches (canned or fresh), nectarines, pineapple, kiwi

Mix everything together. Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Optional: Throw in some banana slices or chia seeds right before eating.

Hash. A hash made of whatever scraps you have in the fridge. After a particularly snowy run in late winter, my mom and I threw together the following:

Sweet potato cubes
Portobella mushrooms and spinach we had eaten for dinner the night before
Sausage links (maple sausage…yum!)

We cooked the sweet potatoes in a bit of olive oil AND a little butter in a hot skillet, threw the rest of the ingredients in and then we topped it all with a fried egg. BEST. POST-RUN. MEAL. EVER.

And coffee. Black and steamy, of course.

What are you favorite pre and post long run food favorites?

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