Marathon breakfasts - Women's Running

Marathon breakfasts

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  April 30, 2015


The breakfast eaten before a marathon is essentially a top up meal to replenish the body’s glycogen stores. As carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source, a pre-marathon breakfast should consist mainly of carbohydrates. As protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, it is wise to balance your carbohydrate to protein ratio carefully in this meal. Sports nutritionists widely agree that a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ration is the optimum balance. Here’s four delicious breakfast ideas, which carefully balance carbohydrate and protein, to top up your energy tank before a marathon.

Cinnamon porridge with dried berries

Porridge and berries

Porridge is widely considered as an athlete’s go-to breakfast. Oats provide slow-releasing carbohydrate to fuel longer runs and are rich in immunity-boosting fiber. Sweeten it up with cinnamon and add in dried berries for quick-release instant energy.

Method: Combine four tablespoons of porridge oats, some cinnamon, water or milk and one tablespoon of dried berries. Microwave for a couple of minutes.

Bagel with peanut butter and banana

Peanut Butter Bagel

While refined carbohydrates aren’t as nutritious as unrefined carbohydrates, they are much easier to digest, and are therefore a good option before a race. Low in fiber, a white bagel is an easily-digested carbohydrate, providing the body with quickly absorbed energy. Peanut butter not only tastes great but will also give you a slow sustained release of energy. Add sliced banana as a good source of easy-to-digest carbohydrate for a fast boost of energy!

Method: Slice a fresh white bagel in half and place on a baking tray. Place under the grill for a couple of minutes to lightly toast. Add a heaped teaspoon of peanut butter and top with a sliced banana.

Protein pancakes


When else could you enjoy pancakes guilt-free? Healthy protein pancakes balance a good combination of protein and carbohydrates, ideal for fuelling a long run. Bananas provide instant energy plus potassium, an electrolyte lost via sweat during training. Honey also offers a great source of energy. Made up of natural unrefined sugars, it’s easily absorbed by the body.

Method: 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 a tablespoon of honey.

Granola with natural yoghurt and honey


Some runners can’t face a large breakfast before a race. After months of training, when marathon day finally approaches, it’s natural to feel anxious and a little queasy. Natural yoghurt topped with granola and honey is a refreshing and light option. Probiotic-rich yoghurt provides an easy-to-digest, liquid carbohydrate to fuel your run. Granola provides a good combination of quick and slower-releasing carbohydrates – ideal for replenishing glycogen stores.

Method: Place five tablespoons of natural yoghurt in a bowl or glass. Top with 100g of granola and drizzle with a tablespoon of honey.

Women's Running Magazine

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