Best runners' breakfasts - Women's Running

Best runners’ breakfasts

Author: Chris Macdonald

Read Time:   |  November 17, 2014

Cinnamon porridge with dried berries
A speedy, warming option. Combine 3 tbsp porridge oats, some cinnamon, water or milk and 1 tbsp dried berries, and microwave for a couple of minutes.

porridge and berries

Why? Oats provide slow-releasing carbohydrate to fuel longer runs, while the dried berries provide quick-release instant energy.

Ideal for: Eat an hour before a longer run. For a post-run breakfast, stir in a scoop of protein powder to support recovery.

Berry protein shake
Quick and easy to prepare. Blend a handful of frozen berries with a scoop of protein powder and coconut water.

Why? A light option, easy to digest. Coconut water provides essential electrolytes to hydrate the body, plus carbohydrates, which together with the berries help fuel your run.

Ideal for: Pre-run when you don’t fancy eating, or post-run as a recovery shake.

Scrambled eggs on a wholegrain bagel
For the perfect recovery breakfast, scramble a couple of eggs and serve with a wholegrain bagel or toast. You could also add a slice of smoked salmon and a handful of spinach.


scrambled eggs

Why? A great combination of healthy fat, carbs and protein to maximise recovery after a run. Eggs provide plenty of B vitamins to re-energise, while spinach will help pump up the iron.

Ideal for: Post-run breakfast.

Breakfast bars
Ideal for breakfast on the go. Try making your own – blend together the juice of 3 oranges, 225g dried apricots and 170g nut butter. Pour into a bowl with 225g porridge oats, 125 wholegrain self-raising flour, 25g seeds and 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. Add a few chopped apricots to the mix. Bake at 190ºC (gas mark 5) in a traybake tin for around 25 minutes, then cut into bars. Alternatively, try healthier brands, such as Bounce, Pulsin, 9bar or Trek.

Why? The combination of oats and dried fruit provides plenty of carbs to fuel your run. Dried apricots also provide iron, which is often low in women runners.

Ideal for: Pre- and post-run breakfasts.

Mocha pick-me-up smoothie
If you need a coffee to get you out the door, try making a creamy mocha shake. Blend together 250ml almond or coconut milk with a scoop of protein powder, 1 tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 tsp maca powder, 1 tsp honey and a banana. If you need a caffeine boost, simply add a little instant coffee powder.

Why? Maca powder is a well-known stress-busting superfood, ideal for times when energy levels are low or you are training hard. Raw cacao is high in antioxidants and is a great source of magnesium, important for energy production and recovery.

Ideal for: instant fuel before a run or post-run as a recovery shake.

Pomegranate chia pudding
Chia seeds are known as the “runner’s fuel” and are ideal for a filling yet light breakfast. Place 2 tbsp chia seeds in 125ml pomegranate juice and soak overnight. Blend with 1 tsp tahini and 3-4 soft dates until smooth. Top with berries to serve.

Why? Chia seeds are packed with protein, soluble fibre and omega-3 fats, making them ideal for sustaining energy levels during longer runs. They also provide plenty of calcium and phosphorous, for healthy bones. The addition of berries and pomegranate juice adds antioxidants to support recovery.

Ideal for: Pre- and post-run breakfasts.

Protein pancakes and banana
With a little planning, pancakes can be a quick, healthy option. Make up a simple batter the night before using buckwheat flour for a magnesium boost, with a little protein powder, or use two eggs to boost the protein content. Serve with sliced banana and ditch the sugar.

Why? A great combination of protein and carbs. Magnesium helps combat muscle soreness and cramps. Bananas provide instant energy plus potassium, an electrolyte lost via sweat during training.

Ideal for: After a run.

Cottage cheese and papaya
An easy-to-assemble combination, which is light and fruity.

Why? Cottage cheese is an excellent source of muscle-building protein, high in casein, a form of protein that fills you up quickly. It’s also an excellent source of bone-building calcium plus tryptophan, an amino acid that can boost mood. Papaya is rich in the enzyme papain, to help lower inflammation and aid digestion.

Ideal for: Post-run recovery.

Greek yogurt with granola
Yogurt is an ideal food for runners – easy on the stomach and great for digestive health. Combine with a handful of granola and fresh fruit for an instant healthy breakfast.

Why? Probiotic-rich yogurt may help improve your gut health, as well as providing easy-to-digest carbohydrate and protein to fuel a run. Granola provides a combination of quick- and slower-releasing carbs for replenishing glycogen stores.

Ideal for: Pre- and post-runs. Pack in a container for a healthy breakfast to go.

Homemade muffin
Fancy a carb fix? Then make up a batch of homemade muffins. Toss in some oats, nuts and wholegrain flour for a more filling option. If baking is not your thing, then try the UGG paleo muffin ( mixes for a fabulous low-sugar, protein-rich muffin.

Why? Avoid shop-bought sugary muffins and instead bake healthier options. Use wholemeal flour, oats or ground almonds to pack in more nutrients, protein and soluble fibre, to support energy levels.

Ideal for: Pre- and post-training.

Chris Macdonald

Editor-at-Large, Women's Running

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