What Fuels Ya

Hey guys! How’s your morning going?? I’m about to start mine with a yoga podcast, but thought I’d say hello first 😀

For dinner last night, I made a giant batch of my sweet potato black bean chili. It simmered in the slow cooker all afternoon, and while I was at work, I knew it had turned out well because I got the following text message from the pilot:

(910): You are a cooking goddess.

He flatters me 😉 Anyway, I couldn’t wait to get home and have a heaping bowl full:

sp black bean

Topped with some of the Babycake’s vegan gluten-free corn bread and cilantro:

sp black bean (2)

Utterly foodgasmic 🙂

I packed it up in a to-go container and went to keep the pilot company as he got a hair cut. I looked a little rough after a full day of working at the gym, but just wanted to go along for the ride and hang out with him.

The pilot studied while I drank tea and watched Devil Wears Prada, and then we called it a night.

This morning, I couldn’t wait to dig into this superfood bfast cookie:

raw bfast cookie

Notice how it looks a little different than the usual???

That’s because that beauty was 100% raw. I’ve been wanting to make a totally raw bfast cookie for quite some time, and last night was the night 😀

raw bfast cookie (2)

-1/3 C oat groats, ground into flour in the food processor  (traditional rolled oats are not raw as they’re lightly baked while they’re processed; you can find oat groats in the bulk section of most health food stores)

-1/2 scoop Sun Warrior vanilla protein

-1/2 banana

-fresh homemade almond milk (store-bought will do in a jiffy but isn’t technically raw)

-1/2 T maca

-goji berries

-1 T chia seeds

T’was amazin’.

So while I was at work yesterday, I couldn’t stop thinking about the treacherous 12-miler and wondering if I need to change my pre-race bfast. As you guys know, I don’t call myself a “real runner”. I run every now and again and treasure the mental benefits from running. I’m competitive and enjoy races, so I’ll do a few every so often. It’s just not my bread and butter and I’d much rather Zumba, spin or yoga until the sun goes down.

That being said, I can’t seem to figure out what I should do about my pre-race bfast. The bfast cookie has always been a champ for me, but it was almost too heavy before the 12-miler. Who knows how I’d feel after 13.1?!

So I’m asking all you “real runners” out there, what’s your favorite pre-long run (or challenging workout) bfast??? I might need to try something a little lighter but with enough power to get me going and last throughout the run (no dairy, please).

I’m off to “om” my little heart out then getting a hair cut! This mane needs some help 😉 Will I do something crazy??? We shall see….



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  1. Ellen on February 23, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I like to eat a small banana (or half of a large one)and a small bowl of Special K cereal with FF organic milk. Sometimes if I need the ‘pick-me-up” I will drink 2-4 ounces of light oj. This is usually what I eat before. After I eat a banana and an orange and drink tons of water.

  2. Emma on February 23, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Before a long run or a race (not that I do many of either!), I like to have half of a whole wheat bagel with natural pb and a small banana. The bagel with pb probably isn’t up your alley, but something small like that with some protein and the nanner really help keep me full without making me feel barfy*.

    *a highly technical term

  3. Katheryn on February 23, 2010 at 11:27 am

    First, I make sure that I sip water all morning long. My pre-long run breakfast is always a bowl of oatmeal. Half water, half almond milk. Either half a banana or berries with cinnamon sprinkled on top. I always let my breakfast sit in my tummy for about an hour before I set off. BTW, do you bring anything to fuel up during your run? 12 miles and up I always bring something to help give me the energy to finish strong.

  4. Megan @ Healthy Hoggin on February 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Even though I heard you’re supposed to watch your fats before a run, I find a banana with a little bit of almond butter does really well for me. Bananas are my favorite pre-run fuel, since pretty much all grains end up giving me side cramps when I run!

    I experimented with having a green juice before my long run on Sunday, and it didn’t work so well– I needed to re-fuel about 40 minutes into my run! Thank goodness I brought a couple fresh dates! By the way, dates = perfect running fuel. 🙂

  5. Betsy Kleiger on February 23, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Before long runs I always eat a dinner with a bit more carbs than usual. I have found that makes a huge difference on my run in the morning. Back in the day when I was really serious I ate the exact same dinner every week. Tofu and veggie stir fry with black beans and corn tortillas. As far as morning of, I usually eat a small banana and some granola, then depending on the length of the run I will take a GU or two with me, but I think they have dairy. This little combo has gotten me through 3 1/2 marathons, and 1 marathon. I just started training for the rock and roll but don’t know which I should do, the 1/2 or whole??? Take care, Betsy

  6. Becca on February 23, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I actually run better on a pretty empty stomach. So if it’s a morning run, meaning I just wake up and go, it’s usually a glass of water and then I’m off. If I have an hour or so before my run in the morning, it is hands down–a banana! I saw a trend in this response from the other commments. Fruit digests so easily when eaten by itself, and honestly, you shouldn’t have food in your stomach while running.

    Maybe another tip…if you know you’re going for a long run in the morning, maybe have a small snack before going to bed or a little bit bigger dinner–nothing huge, but maybe some more carbs!

    Hope this helps 🙂 I’m with you on the running–however, my preference is soccer!

  7. Allison on February 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Ooo! Hair cut thats always exciting. don’t forget to share the AFTER!
    I would like to see all the responses to your question as well. I am just a beginner runner and can barely do like 3 miles. so any little bit of advice and info could help!

  8. tiffnie on February 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I’ve done 12 and 13 miles under non-racing conditions and what has worked is a big, carb-y dinner the night before and a banana with mochi the morning of (at least 1 hour before the workout) with LOTS of water.

    For my 10k, I just had the big carb-y dinner the night before because races give me anxiety which leads to an upset stomach. I have no idea how to remedy this for a half, though…

  9. katie on February 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

    for my first half, i had a sandwich thin with peanut butter and a banana, along with a coconut water – had no issues with my stomach and while i had a gu gel around the halfway point, i wasn’t crazy hungry at the end of the race either.

  10. Stephanie on February 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

    My go to before half marathons in toast/sandwich thin or baisically your choice of bread with PB and sliced banana. Eat with a hot cup of tea. This breakfast has never failed me bfore a long run or a race.

    Good Luck!

  11. Katie on February 23, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Before every race, I have two slice of whole wheat toast (or an Ezekiel English muffin if I have ’em) with almond or peanut butter, cinnamon, agave or honey and a banana. It’s worked every time!

  12. Kim M. on February 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    My long run breakfast is some Kaia Cocoa Bliss buckwheat crunchies raw granola with a little bit of unsweetened vanilla almond milk splashed on it, half of a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to drink, and a small piece of fruit. If it’s more than 10 miles, I’ll add either half of a bar of some sort (I change it up) or half a graham cracker with almond or peanut butter on it. For races that are 13+ miles, during the run I alternate between drinking plain water and water mixed with Gleukos which makes me feel amazing. 🙂

  13. Sheila on February 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Im not sure I’m a “real” runner, I’ve only done one half-marathon and a few 5ks.

    For breakfast I usually have a protein smoothie with fruit and that’s what I had pre run. It worked great. For running fuel. I mix peanut butter and honey and its awesome!

  14. Heather on February 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Hey Gina!

    Pre-run (about 1-1 1/2 hours before I head out the door) I like to have:
    -2 Van’s Organic Whole Wheat Flax Waffles
    -1/2 cup applesauce

    If you sprinkle cinnamon/nutmeg over the waffles, cut them, and dip them into the fresh organic applesauce, it is DELICIOUS! The softness of the whole meal really works well in your stomach and is easily digestable.

    Also, I drink 8 oz. of water with the meal. It makes me feel like I can conquer ANYTHING. 😀

  15. Andrea (Off Her Cork) on February 23, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t really eat a lot before runs. I have like 1/2 a bar of some sort. But maybe before a long 12 miler you could have some millet bread with almond butter? That would be carbs and protein. Then during the run some other sort of fuel that would work well with you (your choice). 🙂

  16. t.p. on February 23, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    A small banana and peanut butter always worked well for me while training for my half marathon…

  17. Jess - The Domestic Vegan on February 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    That cookie looks fantastic! I loooove oat groats.

  18. Jessica on February 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Ahh i’m excited to see the new do!!! You definitely made it sound like you’re going for something risky…..!!!! 🙂

    That vegan cornbread + chili meal would ROCK my mom’s face off. And mine too! But that is probably her favorite meal, everr!!!!! Hmmmm, now i’m hungry and you are fabbb G!!

  19. Kalli@fitandfortysomething.com on February 23, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I tend to eat a bit less than I think I need-usually oatmeal but lighter portion. Then I bring small snacks like dates or gu to keep me fueled. I would rather feel light running than heavy and crampy in the stomach.

  20. Grace on February 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    In the morning I have a bowl of oatmeal about an hour before a run and take a fruit leather for a trail snack. If I’m running in the afternoon I grab a banana or dried fruit for a pick me up.

  21. Tyler Ramey on February 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    If I am running in the morning, then I will grab a piece of Eziek bread and come PB, or a Kashi waffle and some PB…then come back and make an oatmeal monster when I get done! Works like a charm for me!

  22. Talia on February 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I love your sweet potato chili recipe! I also made it yesterday 🙂 I’ve ben making it on my day off (Mondays) to eat throughout the week, its so delish! Next monday I am def making some corn bread to go with it! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on February 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm

      i’m so glad you like it, too! it tastes AMAZING with cornbread 🙂

  23. Theresa on February 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I ran into problems with fuel while training for the Disney Marathon. I either had way too much sitting in my stomach like a brick, or ended up petering out from the fuel not lasting as long as I had hoped. The trick for me was 1/2-3/4 cup of greek yogurt with fresh berries and 1/8-1/4 cup of grape nuts. Sadly, it took me 15 weeks of an 18 week training program to figure this out! Unfortunately I think “Trial & Error’ is really the only way to go til you find what works for you!

  24. Kristie S on February 23, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    The day before a long run I usually increase my carb intake. The morning of I usually have a bowl of oats with 1 banana(help prevent cramps & increase potassium), chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, and either water or milk. I always eat and then sip on water till I run. I wait at least 1 hour before running. Also, I recommend using some type of energy supplement (gels, beans, blocks, etc) after 9 miles of running. Marathons & 1/2’s will use these products usually around mile 9. Also, don’t forget to refuel when you return. Electrolytes, Carbs, & Protin.

  25. Shannon on February 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I don’t always eat this before a long run or hard workout, but it never fails: a whole wheat tortilla, smear some nut butter on it, with sliced almonds and cinnamon (honey optional), and wrap a banana in it. I call it my banana wrap and it seriously fuels me! 🙂

  26. Vanessa @ Peace, Joy, Style on February 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I prefer oatmeal with a heaping tablespoon of vegan peanut butter (I use Smart Balance) and a dash of cinnamon. I swirl it all up and mmmm!

    I also make sure I drink plenty of water.

  27. anon on February 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Sorry to tell you but I do best on NO breakfast at all. Empty stomach makes for the best run for me.

  28. sarah l on February 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I’m not much of a bagel girl, but I know that it’s a pretty standard pre-race brekky. Before my half-marathon a couple of weeks ago I did some research and decided to try a dry bagel… it worked! Plenty of energy, no stomach issues, not starving (or heavy feeling) at the end! I ate the bagel 2 hours before the start of the race.

  29. Madison on February 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I am similar to the commentor that said that she eats a bit more carbs for dinner the night before a long run. I normally run very early in the morning to avoid the sun and heat and find it hard to get up that early and eat a big breakfast or any breakfast at all. I am lucky if I manage to eat a couple bites of PB on sandwich thins. I’ve ran 20 mile training runs with nothing more than that. Everyone is different, I have friends that eat a very complete breakfast before long runs but I just don’t have the appetite. I think a small banana or piece of bread w/ some nut butter is good and not too heavy. I think eating something w/ too much whole grain/fiber will weigh you down and may cause you to have to look for restrooms during your run.

  30. Queen of Fitness on February 23, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    I haven’t run a half yet but am planning on doing one this summer. i’ve run a few 5K’s and most recently a 10K. when training and on race day i have found that running on an empty stomach is BEST for me. my stomach is already wonky and having anything in my belly other than water causes me to get sick. i was thinking i may have to eat before the half though. i was planning on toast with p.b. and half a banana. & maybe a little bit of water. i’m noticing that most of the other ladies are saying this as well. i have an hour and 20 minute drive to the race so i think this will give me enough time for the bottomless pit to settle. also, some people might think this is TMI but i find a good B.M. also helps my performance. i make sure to have lots of fiber the night before. the picture of your breakfast yesterday would actually be perfect.

  31. Sarah @ Daily Nibbles on February 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    When I did my marathon, my training gals and I ate pretty plain beforehand. Oatmeal and a banana or English muffin with peanut butter and a banana. We always ate something. Any run over an hour, we would stash water, Gatorade, and snacks along our route. We would eat more bananas and a GU energy gel. I ended up getting used to the GU and that is what I preferred by the end of training. It’s also what they have on most courses during the race. Also, your post run meal should have a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. I believe peanut butter and banana might have that ratio.

  32. Linzerella on February 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I always enjoy an English muffin with a bit of peanut butter and jam on it before run. Pair it with a fruit and a coffee two hours before a race and I’m GOLDEN! 🙂

  33. Allison on February 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    i don’t know if i’m a “real” runner, but generally for long runs i’ll eat half an apple with almond butter maybe 30 minutes before i head out. for anything longer than 6 miles i’ll take some gels with me and take those about 4 miles in. i think this is one of those situations where experimentation is the only way to go!

  34. Mama Pea on February 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Can’t wait to see your gorgeous haircut! I always like sprouted toast with nut butter and banana before a long run. Filling, but didn’t sit in my gut like oats.

  35. Gina on February 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I am training for my firs half marathon so I loved all of these tips!

  36. Melissa S. on February 23, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    i always eat a mini bagel w/ pb and an apple before a race. never fails me!

  37. Kristilyn (My 29th Year) on February 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I haven’t been running long enough to have really found something that works, but normally I run first thing in the AM and I’ll have 1/2 a homemade Larabar or a black bean brownie with LOTS of water. I think I need a pick me up, though, for longer runs … my last run was 7.2 miles and all I had was a black bean brownie beforehand – and this was soon after getting up in the morning. Maybe I should have jellybeans, or a piece of a larabar or something because I was feeling hungry!


  38. Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) on February 23, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Aww the pilot is so cute =)

    I need to try that chili myself! And I plan on getting my hands on some groats soon!


  39. Hilary on February 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    i usually do my long runs early and don’t eat before them but recently i’ve been running with people who like to run at around 10 AM so I need to eat something! I’ve found that 2 pieces of the sprouted bread from TJs with a little bit of natural PB (without salt) and half of a banana is perfect.

  40. Kyla on February 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    a slice of bread with peanut or almond butter, a nanner, and cinnamon always does the trick for me!
    a cup of coffee helps too.

  41. Christie (http://rollerkoesterrun.wordpress.com/) on February 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I’d have to say that I agree with Anon. I definitely consider myself a runner and run my best if I don’t eat beforehand. I’ll have a good, hearty meal the night before and simply fuel up with some caffeine and lots of water. I truly believe that everyone is different and you need to experiment to see what works best for you. I hope you find the best option and kick that halfs butt!!!


  42. Brittany on February 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I found that one slice of whole wheat bread with a small amount of peanut butter and half a banana sliced on top is perfect before a long run! Its worked for me, so I keep sticking with it 🙂

  43. s on February 24, 2010 at 12:00 am

    that text message is sweet 🙂

  44. Liesl on February 24, 2010 at 12:40 am

    One slice of toast, with almond butter or pb and half a banana. I’ve run 3 1/2 marathons and it’s never failed me. Plus I use this breakfast before all of my long runs.

  45. Jaclyn on February 24, 2010 at 2:00 am

    I would say go with a pb/ab sammie with a banana. good pre-run fuel. Bars are also great, but I know you know that! 😉

  46. Kimberly on February 24, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Hi Gina! 🙂 I recently strolled across your blog and have been enjoying your pics, tips, and recipes! Keep up the good work! I am usually on the go prior to a workout, so my pre-run snack is usually a cliff bar about an hour prior along with a small glass of water. This usually does the trick and holds me over until I get home. I have tried a lot of their flavors and have yet to come across one that I do not like 🙂 A small portion of something that fills me up is always my go to. I have figured out that I cannot drink an entire protein shake (or a lot of any liquid, for that matter) prior to a run. I am sure a lot of people have experienced this — the liquid is all over the place in your belly when you run and makes your run uncomfortable and you feel bloaty – ICK! I do keep a “sippable” water bottle (with a pop-up straw) at the treadmill to keep me hydrated throughout the run as well. Happy running!:)

  47. Jess on February 25, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I’ve had success with the following pre-race breakies:

    – green smoothie (with almond milk, banana, spinach & Vega)
    – sprouted grain toast w. almond butter and banana
    – Natalia Rose’s Pumpkin Pie in a Bowl (usually with banana & granola)
    – raw banana cereal (banana, chocolate hemp protein powder, dried cranberries, flaxseed, dried coconut, almond milk)

    • Jess on February 25, 2010 at 2:57 am

      Haha! I just realized that these are all mostly high-raw breakfasts. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before that I run better after a raw meal because I don’t really keep track of them.

  48. Lindsey on February 25, 2010 at 8:17 am

    I eat the same thing before every long run, oatmeal with a little bit of maple syrup and coffee and water. I think it is really a personal thing, there are some guys and gals in our running group that swear by running on an empty stomach but I have tried it and it doesn’t work for me at all. I also find that I need to have salty carbs leading up to a race because I tend to be a “salty sweater” lol.
    Last thing is for the longer distances I carry clif blocks and they actually make a world of difference!
    Good luck with the race and p.s. you are a “real runner” because you have the courage to get out there and do it : )

  49. All Women Stalker on February 27, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Awww, good for ya. Glad the pilot enjoyed your dish.

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