Over the last year and a half or so, I have tested out numerous foods in that breakfast / pre-run timeslot. I have a somewhat sensitive stomach, so I need to have something solid inside me prior to ingesting the typical high carb gels. Banana’s are a pretty safe food for me, but there are limits to how many I can eat. Fatty foods are a big no-no, and any kind of cereal that requires milk is off limits (who takes dairy before a big run?). After so many attempts to find the ideal pre-race meal, the one food that I keep coming back to, that satisfies my hunger without upsetting my stomach, is oatmeal. It’s both basic and filling, provides the right level of carbs and protein to sustain my body during the run.
I typically make my oatmeal the night before, using the traditional method of boiling water with a pinch of salt and then adding the old fashioned oats. As a rule I avoid the instant oatmeal because of the excess sugar which, when mixed with high carb gels, can cause unpleasant intestinal issues (you know what I mean)! Once it’s thick enough, I put it into a container and refrigerate until the morning. Cold oatmeal doesn’t bother me, and pre-making it the night before saves valuable time in the morning that could be better spent stretching or sleeping. Whether eating hold or cold, I like to top my oatmeal off with some honey, mini kisses, and mixed nuts if available. Altogether it’s a pretty appetizing breakfast and has yet to lead to stomach issues prior to or during the race.
A single serving of oatmeal (made with Quaker Oats or something similar) contains approximately 3g of fat, 27g of carbs, and 5g of protein. With a healthy dose of carbs for lunch the day before, that’s the ideal platform and source of fuel for a problem free run!