According to Starla Garcia, M.Ed, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian in Houston, it is important to eat before a long run to help your metabolism wake up. It also allows you to use the calories that you've consumed so your body doesn't start utilizing energy from your muscles. Preserving your muscle stores will reduce soreness later on.
"Eating breakfast provides your body with energy to fuel your run so that you also don't start to plateau or feel bonked out halfway," Garcia says. "You want to feel strong for as long as possible and eating a breakfast can definitely help you feel your best the longer you runs get."
Ideally, consuming a carbohydrate (food that will break down into sugar) and a protein will help you stay satisfied throughout your run, Garcia says. "I also recommend staying away from foods that are super high in fiber and dairy products, as these can cause stomach distress for some runners."
Here are 10 quality breakfast options to keep you feeling strong during your long training runs.
Oatmeal1 of 11
Oatmeal is quick and easy, but it's also a complex carbohydrate containing protein-filled grains, making it great for recovery. Prepare it with water and nuts--we love walnuts--to keep things easy on your stomach.
Banana2 of 11
A simple banana can sometimes be all you need in the morning, providing plenty of potassium and fast-burning carbohydrates. Pro tip: Slice the banana lengthwise and add your favorite nut butter to create a sandwich with a bit of protein and good fats.
Toast with Nut Butter and Banana Slices3 of 11
For runners going the distance, a slice of whole-grain or white toast can provide just the right amount of simple carbs before a long run. Creamy nut butters paired with bananas provide healthy fats to keep you satisfied.
Waffles with Nut Butter4 of 11
Toaster waffles are a great alternative to plain toast for those who pine for the sweeter things in life.
Breakfast or Snack Bars5 of 11
Pre-packaged bars often get a bad rap for being packed with sugar, but there are actually plenty of quality options out there made with real-food ingredients like fruit and nuts. RX Bar and Picky Bars are just two brands known to have an optimal carb-to-protein ratio for runners.
Yogurt with Granola and Nuts6 of 11
If you know you're not sensitive to dairy, yogurt is an excellent option complete with calcium, protein and good bacteria to prevent inflammation. Granola and nuts provide additional carbs and healthy fats.
Crackers and Nut Butter7 of 11
If you prefer something savory in the morning, crackers can be a good alternative to bread while still providing sufficient carbs.
Half a Bagel with Spread8 of 11
A bagel with peanut butter or cream cheese is another great alternative to toast or waffles, especially when you might need more calories for a run as long as 20 miles.
Fig Newtons9 of 11
These soft cookies are a great alternative to breakfast bars, providing an optimal amount of carbohydrates with minimal added sugar.
Cereal with Almond Milk10 of 11
A cereal that's low in fiber and added sugar paired with almond milk can make for an excellent pre-run breakfast that's satisfying and won't wreak havoc on your stomach.