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What Does A Marathoner Eat For Breakfast?

By April 12, 2017Nutrition

5 days until the Boston Marathon.

It’s no secret that every good workout is fueled by a good meal. Perhaps you’ve heard the metaphor before…you body is a car, your food is the gas. Put crappy, low quality gas in your car and it will run like crap. Put high quality gas in your car and it will run like a lambo. Your food is the gas, YOU are the lambo. 

We asked 13 students running the Boston Marathon what their go-to breakfast is. They all had one thing is common…carbs. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity (Harvard). Physical activity is something these marathoners know a thing or two about. Here are five main foods that were common responses from all thirteen runners.


what does a marathoner eat

Oatmeal contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and is considered a “complex carb.” Complex carbs digest slowly in the body, therefore allow for sustained energy through prolonged activity like a marathon.

Some runners loved their oatmeal with a passion. “Oatmeal, peanut butter, berries. I started adding soy milk instead of water to oatmeal to add more calories. Tea or OJ as well. Pretty much heaven.” – Erin Tichenor (Boston University ’18)

While others were in it strictly for fueling purposes. “Not the most delicious breakfast, but definitely a great way to fuel my body for a long run and avoid ‘hitting the runners wall.'” – Leah Burkholder (Northeastern University ’17)

Peanut Butter

what does a marathoner eat

A great source of protein and healthy fat, peanut butter came up a lot – sometimes in oatmeal, sometimes on toast or bagels. 

“For every long run, I eat two pieces of sprouted grain toast with almond butter and banana. It’s so yummy, gives me energy, and my body is able to burn it slowly.” – Michaella Niro (Northeastern ’17)


what does a marathoner eat

8 out of the 13 students we talked to said fruit was part of their go-to breakfast. More specifically, berries and bananas. Studies have shown that for every banana a runner eats, he or she can run one mile longer than expected. Just kidding. Don’t believe everything you read kids 😉

BUT, fruit is a great source of sugar, aka carbs. Every student that had oatmeal topped it with fruit, other students paired it with PB on a bagel. 

“Seriously I eat oatmeal every day. Sometimes with banana, sometimes with berries or peanut butter, always delicious.” – Paige Kracke (Tufts University ’17)


what does a marathoner eat

Ah bagels, the epitome of carbs. Bagels pack in a ton of calories, making them a great pre-run food. Plus, they’re delicious. While pizza bagels are unfortunately not the greatest meal before heading out to run 26.2, some students did get a little fancy with their bagels.

“[My go-to breakfast is] a bagel with one-side peanut butter and one-side cream cheese and a banana!” – Olivia Polise (Boston College ’19)

By the way, you can get yourself a bagel (along with coffee, sweetgreen, and other goodies) at our Marathon Monday Pre-Game on Saturday!


what does a marathoner eat

A great source of protein, eggs are always a good choice for breakfast. Some runners keep it basic with an egg and english muffin, while others went all out for a complete, delicious meal. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, too.

“[I like to have a] veggie egg-white omelette, 2 pieces of wheat toast, hot coffee, ice water.” – Sarah Woods (Boston College ’17)

Want to cheer these students on on Marathon Monday? Join us at the CLIF Cheer Zone at Heartbreak Hill! And don’t forget to come pre-game with us too! We’ll be at the new Reebok Boston Showroom on Saturday for the Marathon Monday Pre-Game. Expect bagels, coffee, sweetgreen, foam rollers, poster board making stations, and more.

CLIF Cheer Zone hosted by Fit University Eventbrite Header

Author Sarah Gaines

Sarah Gaines in the founder Fit University. Her favorite things include weight lifting, yoga, cooking, social media, traveling & ice cream. Personal motivation: changing the college fitness game.

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