Mornings are rushed. I get it. The last thing you probably have time to do in the morning is cook a gourmet breakfast. On top of that, when you’re headed out the door to run, your stomach also likely can’t even handle a full gourmet breakfast. So, what do you eat?
As a registered dietitian, I tell my clients to focus on 2 things when it comes to those early pre-run breakfasts: something easy, and something that contains carbohydrates.
Carbs are our bodies’ preferred source of energy, especially in exercise. When we run – whether it’s 3 miles or 13 – our bodies rely on our carb stores, called glycogen, for energy. This is why you hear about people “carb loading” before big races. Carbs are what give us the energy we need for exercise.
But, not all carbs are created equally. Right before a run, a food with too much fiber or a food that takes too long digest might seriously upset your stomach. Think about eating an apple: it takes a while to chew and a while to fully digest. Definitely not the best choice for those pre-run mornings.
Instead, focus on easily digestible carbs that will be easy on your stomach while still giving you that needed energy. Some of my simple favorites include: a banana, a piece of whole grain toast or a whole wheat English muffin. They all provide just enough energy to get through about 60 minutes or less of activity, and are easy enough that they won’t add extra time to your morning routine.
--Sammi Haber Brondo, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a private practice in NYC, Sammi Brondo Nutrition. Sammi graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She’s the author of The Essential Vegetable Cookbook, a cookbook with 130 simple and delicious vegetable-focused recipes. Sammi practices an all foods fit approach to nutrition and believes that in order for a diet to be sustainable, it also has to be realistic and enjoyable. She shares more about this philosophy on her Instagram account, @veggiesandchocolate.