Many people ask me, “What is the number one food I should eat before a long run?”
There are countless foods beneficial to runners and we can delve into that later, but the simple answer to this question is Carbohydrates or Glucose?
All athletes, including runners, need glucose to fuel their body and provide the energy for no matter what physical activity is chosen.
Any carbohydrate-based food is digested to glucose. The glucose is delivered to your muscles to be stored as glycogen. It’s converted to a substance called ATP, which your muscles use to produce a contraction or movement. Some carbohydrates are digested quickly, so are used as energy sooner, while others take longer to have any effect. This is referred to as the Glycemic Index (GI). High GI foods break down to glucose quickly, providing the body a quick burst of energy; while low GI carbohydrates provide slow, sustained energy release.
When fuelling for activity, especially endurance activities lasting longer than one-hour, your body will benefit more from low GI carbohydrates for breakfast. Have this meal approximately between two to four hours before any activity; ensuring your muscles will sustain you. Breakfast should ideally be carbohydrate rich, low in fibre to now slow digestion, and not too high in protein or fat, as these can also take longer to digest.
Try some of these are your pre-exercise breakfast for champions:
5 minutes preparation time, 10 minutes cooking time
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1 punnet blueberries
- Place flour, rolled oats, milk, salt, sugar and egg into a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add the blueberries and stir through slowly.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium to high, spray with canola or rice bran oil and spoon large portions of mixture into the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until bubbles form in the batter. Flip the pikelet and cook on the reverse side for a further minute.
- Eat plain or with yoghurt if desired.
15 minutes preparation time, 25-30 minutes cooking time
- 2 cups self-raising flour
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup dates
- 1 tablespoon LSA
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup milk
- Preheat oven to 180o
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Combine banana, egg and milk in a separate bowl mixing well. Transfer mixture to the same bowl as the dry ingredients and stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Spoon mixture into muffin ramekins and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Pierce with thin skewer to ensure they are cooked the whole way through
- Once cooked, cool on a rake before eating
Apple and Date Porridge
3 minutes preparation time, 3 minutes cooking time
- 1 apple, sliced into 0.5cm long slithers
- ¼ cup dried dates, chopped
- 1/3 cup raw rolled oats
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp LSA
- Dash of milk / yoghurt if desired
- Place apple slithers and chopped dates in a small heatproof bowl and cook in a microwave for 40 seconds.
- Remove apple and dates and place rolled oats in the same bowl. Cover with water and microwave for 45-60 seconds.
- Return apple to bowl, stir through oats and microwave for a further 30 seconds.
- Stir through cinnamon, LSA and milk, or yoghurt if desired to add more moisture.
Other great choices for breakfast are cereal and fruit, a fruit smoothie or raisin toast