Personal Eating While Marathon Training

As I train more, I get more nutrition questions. I normally post a What I eat Wednesday post annually so it seems like no time like the present!

If the nutrition question can be asked, it has been.  I put half of my life on the internet so it makes sense there are questions about anything and everything.  Due to my public health major, I have several college nutrition classes under my belt.

That being said I am not a professional.

I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist and I’m not trying to be.  I’m still figuring out what works for me. At the end of the day, just like running shoes there are different strokes for different folks.  I am someone who likes to eat very simply and not makes things more complicated then they have to be.  I do try and meal prep for the week.

That being said, please join me on my day. 

I’m in the routine of waking up between 5:30-6. I could run when I wake up (without fuel) but honestly it’s colder and dark. I don’t want too.  I would rather wake up, wake up and eat before my run.

I normally eat a 300-400 breakfast.
I don’t like to drink coffee anymore before I run. I had some stomach problems once (during a race) and decided I would never drink coffee before a run again.

Some of my favorite breakfasts:
Waffle with peanut butter (this is what I have about 75% of the time right now)

So easy and so quick.
2 over easy eggs with a bagel

Egg cooked in one of those microwave egg cookers.
Egg cooked in one of those microwave egg cookers.

Oatmeal (blogger cliche but probably my least favorite)

Total calories: 300-400

Then I go for a run 1-2 hours later.  I have found all of my breakfast choices sit in my stomach well.  I can eat between 1-2 hours and have a great run.

During and after breakfast, I use the time to catch up on emails and blogs. I normally head out for a run between 7:15-7:45. I’m home no later than 9:15 and I quickly shower and head to work by 10. During my mass chaos of getting ready, I eat a power bar (I like the taste of power bars and don’t want to replicate them with a recipe…). I also have my amino acids (lately it’s been in a glass of skim milk) and stop at either Wawa or Saxbys on the way to work.

Calories: powerbars, amino acids and coffee (cream with a side of coffee): 300-400
Total calories: 600-800

I normally work from 10-7. I have gotten in a routine of snacking all the way through my work day. I was never a snacker (more of a three meal type of person) until working at my current job.

None of these times are exact and it depends when I have time to eat.  I just eat when I’m hungry and when I’m not helping people.  Sometimes I have lunch at 11 and other times it has to wait until 2.

Here are some snacks I normally eat at work:
Powerbars. I love the chocolate chip cookie dough ones right now.  I don’t live exclusively off of power bars but generally I have one or two a day.

power bar 1
Sandwiches and yogurt. I have a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they are easy.  Occasionally I’ll walk down to one of the multiple restaurants in town and grab lunch.

The other day I walked to the deli and this sandwich was the bomb.
The other day I walked to the deli and bought this sandwich and it was the bomb.

When I am feeling really fancy, I will have an egg sandwich with avocado (read have actually gone to the grocery store).

I'm so don't even know...
I’m so fancy…you don’t even know…

Total calories: 1400-1700

As I said I normally work from 10-7.  I get home around 7:30 and I’m pretty hungry at this point. I have made note to try not to order take out at work and make it home. It can get expensive ordering dinner every day of the week. Dinner for me is not normally planned. I eat whatever is left over in my house.  By 7:30, I don’t want to cook and more or less just want to relax. 

I try (key word try) to cook some sort of meat at the beginning of the week and use that as left overs with salad or a sandwich. Lately I’ve been enjoyed reheated chicken, salmon or steak with a soup and vegetables.

Here are a couple of dinners I’ve had the last few weeks: 

Chicken on top of mixed greens
Chicken on top of mixed greens
Salmon I actually cooked at the beginning of the week for “meal prep”.  That was a big step for me.
I attempted to make "pizza wraps" that I saw on pinterest too.  It was just melted cheese, pepperoni grilled in a wrap.  It was actually pretty good but I'll work more on it.
I attempted to make “pizza wraps” that I saw on pinterest too. It was just melted cheese, pepperoni grilled in a wrap. It was actually pretty good but lots of room for improvement.

I also try and have a glass of milk with dinner to get more calcium.

Total calories: 2000-2300

Depending on the day I’ll have dessert or not. If I crave dessert then I have it. My sweet tooths include the Krispy Kreme or froyo down the road. There is also a really nice bakery down the road but it closes at 7pm (after I get off work).  My two favorite desserts are cake and donuts.

Total calories: 2000-3000

As you can see my nutrition is anything but extraordinary. I’m just a relatively healthy eating runner who likes to keep simple. Food is important to me but I don’t stress about it and I don’t take a lot of time to cook it.  All of my meals generally take 15-20 minutes to cook at the most.

Questions for you:

What foods do you enjoy?

What is your work day like? 

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  1. Really liked reading this because I always like seeing what other runners are eating. I am very similar to you and eat a lot of eggs, peanut butter on different stuff, and snack throughout the day espicially when Im working. My favorite snacks are yogurt, colby cheese, pretzels, almonds, and graham crackers

  2. This is very similar to what I eat in terms of amounts and calories, with yt? being a little higher, but you have higher mileage as well. I tend to split my meals up a bit more into mini meals throughout the day (and with ice cream or yogurt after dinner).

  3. I am similar in that I like to keep it simple because I don’t usually have the time or desire to spend a lot of time cooking, especially at dinner time because I’m usually super hungry and don’t want to spend too much time cooking. I don’t know how some people cook such elaborate meals every day!

  4. Looks good. 🙂 I wish i ate more waffles.! But my breakfast is usually in a rush. I would say I need to spread out my calories better, looks like you have a good balanced diet 🙂

  5. My work day is well… at home. I do tend to snack a lot, which is one downside of working at home. It’s really easy to just munch, and we buy a lot of our snacks from Costco and I have to be careful because the serving size is 20 and not 2 and if I bring the Costco-sized bag upstairs to work with me I tend to take it back downstairs to the pantry half full ;). That’s how it goes when I eat when writing though.

    I also eat a lot of bars lately, although I ate them more (every day) when I worked at corporate. Typically I make coffee and drink that at the beginning of my day, just a cup, then go to BodyPump, then come home and have a really big pumped-up protein shake for breakfast. On non-BodyPump days I usually have cereal and milk. I eat lots of cereal and milk. Lunch for me is usually leftovers as well although I guess I could cook something since I get a lunch break. I usually don’t want to and would rather grab something, take a shorter lunch, and work through.

    But I do love waffles… and we have a waffle restaurant less than a mile away… have been known to occasionally do lunch there 🙂

  6. Looks like a great day of eating, and much more simpler than I see on other blogs. I eat a lot like you – simple and easy. I have to eat before I run in the morning or else I simply don’t have the energy. At school every day I have a salad for lunch and snack the rest of the day when I get home…then I make the quickest thing which normally ends up being pasta or something from the freezer!

  7. I just cooked chocolate chip waffles (and am eating them while typing this). I love how you can make a huge batch and freeze them, and then reheat them in the toaster for a quick breakfast. I made them for Emma because they don’t need maple syrup (and that gets messy). But I do love maple syrup- it has to be the real stuff, not that Aunt Jemima shiz.

    I usually work shorter hours than you, but I still snack a lot. Last week I ate two bagels (one w/ egg and cheese and one w/ cream cheese) during a 4 hr shift. Thanks for sharing your food habits- it’s nice to see someone who eats normal food, not oatmeal/ chia pudding/ baby carrots and kefir.

    1. In Upstate you can’t even get the “un-normal” can you LOL? Now I’m craving chocolate chip waffles.

  8. Ah simple is the best! Egg sandwiches are a BIG favorite of mine. I eat them almost every morning, or oatmeal. I guess it’s old lady or blogger like, but i put real sugar in it so maybe its not now haha! 😉

  9. I am the same about coffee before races. I’ve tried it a few times but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I am always jealous of my friends who are drinking it before we head off to the start line, though! I do not track my calorie count at all, so I truly have no idea what my totals are, ever. I just aim to eat when hungry around meal times, and not snack unless I am really hungry between meals. I eat whole foods, and don’t have any restrictions for foods. It seems to work!

    1. I don’t count calories very often but when I was writing this post I tried to get a good baseline in. Thank you for sharing too Amanda!

  10. I love simple/easy eating. Leaves more time for running/writing! Those cookie dough power bars sound amazing. Also, that pizza wrap looks beautiful. I need to start trying more Pinterest recipes so thanks for inspiring me. 🙂

  11. I *always* drink coffee before morning workouts! Crazy? It’s like you said, though–different strokes for different folks. Anyway, once I find food that works from a fueling/performance standpoint (my go-to lately has been a pre-workout waffle with almond butter and jelly), I stick to it. So I usually have salmon or another type of fish several times a week, plus chicken and turkey. TONS of sweet potatoes and some quinoa recently too.

  12. Eggo waffles and PB are my go to prerace fuel. It takes next to nothing to digest an Eggo (possibly because it’s not “real” food) so I know I won’t have any issues when running.
    I’m a 3 meals + 2 snacks and maybe dessert person. I don’t count calories, but I’d estimate I’m eating anywhere from 1600-2000 and it’ll increase as my mileage increases as well.

  13. Greek yogurt is pretty much my go to in the morning, unless I get to work in time to grab some eggs and fruit. I am really struggling with calorie consumption throughout the day and find that I constantly eat too little during the day and then am starving when I get home. I think the heavy night time meal doesn’t bode too well with my body. Who knows!

  14. I love ALL breakfasts foods loaded with fillings. If we are getting specific, it’s definitely pancakes… With chocolate chips… And bananas. I really like these wraps at my local whole foods stores (Kimberton Whole Foods). It’s a roasted veggie wrap with this cashew cream and OMG, I could eat it every day (which happens a lot). I find when you’re eating for one, just stopping and getting sandwiches is the way to go. Plus, I think breakfast foods are easier to prepare for one than say… a casserole. Maybe I’m just lazy.

  15. I love day in the life style posts (especially when there is food involved, haha) and I can only imagine how much I’d want to eat if I was running that much! I’d be eating ALL THE THINGS! 😉

  16. Thanks for sharing your normal training day eats. I like how normal all your meals are. I can totally relate! I work in a job where I make elaborate sandwiches and drinks. However, mostly by the time I make lunch, all I want is something easy like pb&j or a hummus sandwich. My favorite thing to eat is a sandwich or wrap, which require little prep. I don’t really like to cook after I get home from a job surrounded by food. I don’t think I will ever grow out of pb&j.

  17. You are so awesome! I love your honesty… some times I am tempted to only include foods like meat and rice in recaps and then leave out the box of crackers and the four oreos I also had during the day. Because honestly… pizza wraps sound bomb. Also love the cream with a side of coffee comentary… I also love my coffee with plenty of cream! Or take it to the next level and have a latte? We don’t have WaWa here… Is that an East Coast thing? Or is it just a local thing for you? It sounds pretty awesome though!

  18. I eat the same foods in different rotations… a lot of greek yogurt, nut butters, roast sweet potatoes, some fruit, lots of salads and lately I’ve been trying to eat things that aren’t salad… I’ve been making soups or meals and I’ve been feeling more satisfied. I also make like 500 calories salads which were so surprising once I started tracking.

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