Running

Long Run Breakfasts Real Philly Runners Actually Eat

Fuel your training with these long run breakfasts of champions.


long run breakfasts

Bagels make the list of long run breakfasts of champions. Photograph by iStock/Nanulaitta.

Probably the only thing runners think about more than running is food — what kinds of food they’re going to eat the night before, the morning of, during, and after long runs can make a pretty big difference in how the body functions several miles in. While everyone is different — some people can’t handle running with anything in their stomachs, while others absolutely have to have eaten — we asked local Philly runners what they eat for their long run breakfasts.

Below, find a few suggestions for what — and when — these pro runners fuel before clocking their miles, then go ahead try some of these long run breakfasts yourself. Who knows, you may just find your new fave!

Tofu Scramble and Toast

“What I eat before a long run depends on how how early I’m eating and running. If I wake up and only have an hour to get ready before a morning long run, I’ll eat a piece of toast with peanut butter or hummus. If I’m running a half marathon, I usually wake up a little earlier (maybe two to three hours before) and I’ll have tofu scramble with spinach, peppers, and toast. No matter how early I wake up, I always have water to make sure I’m properly hydrated.” — Takia McClendon, co-founder of City Fit Girls

Bagel with Vegan Spread

“I tend to stick within the 400 to 600 calorie range before a run longer than 10 miles. Before a marathon, I am most DEFINITELY getting in those 600 calories. I’ll usually time my meal within a 400 to 500 calorie range three to four hours before the race, and then slam another 100 to 150 calories an hour before. My go-to breakfast is a bagel with vegan scallion spread (holla to South Street Philly Bagels a.k.a. my morning angels), a handful of raisins, and a little almond milk and banana smoothie. 

“For snacks, I stick with a ziplock bag of granola. Nothing tops homemade granola, but I’m also a big fan of KIND Snacks, Trish Moves, and Go Macro bars.” — Jon Lyons, founder of Run215

Sweet Potato, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Avocado

“I like to keep it simple, straightforward and do what I know works for ME. I stick to a paleo diet, so my go-to is a sweet potato and one to two hard boiled eggs before, let’s say, a run that is over 10 miles. Sometimes I throw in a quarter to half an avocado for some healthy fats.” — Ali Cook Jackson, triathlete and owner of Never Give Up Training

Overnight Oats and a NoCow Bar

“If I am running first thing in the morning (before 7 a.m.) I will do it fasted. It is too early to have anything in my system. If [my run] has to be mid-morning or afternoon, I will make sure I have breakfast, which consists of overnight oats that I prepare the night before, and then a bar. I make sure I have that bar in me at least one full hour before my run. My favorite bar right now is a No Cow bar — vegan protein and one gram of sugar. You really can’t beat that.” — Angelena Minniti, hgAthletics ambassador and run leader

Dry Bagel

When I get into the long runs, I try to keep it very simple with water and carbs in the morning — usually a bagel (no cream cheese or anything) or a granola bar.” — Carl Ewald, executive director of Run Fest

Rolled Oats with Maple Syrup

“I’m a morning runner, so I don’t typically eat a very large breakfast before I head out the door. Instead, I always make sure to have a hardy dinner. For runs that are 10 miles or less, I’ll have a piece of toast with peanut or almond butter, or a granola bar. For runs over 10 miles, I’ll have something a bit more robust. I buy the packets of plain rolled oats and I’ll add maple syrup or honey and cinnamon for some flavor, or two pieces of toast with peanut or almond butter and a banana. I’ll make an egg scramble or protein smoothie when I get back from my run — who can say no to a second breakfast!?” Jessica Wayashe, long-distance charity runner and corporate partnerships at City Fitness 

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