— Tempting as it might be to cozy up on the couch and
hibernate during winter, slacking off is not an option for
30,000 runners from across the U.S. and beyond are expected to
crowd the starting line of the 2014 Dick’s Sporting Goods
Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half
Marathon on May 4. And despite the snow and cold, the vast
majority has already logged several of many, many planned
daughter Catherine and I are already a month deep into our
16-week schedule, which includes grueling speed workouts and
torturous hill repeats on top of early-morning long runs each
and every Saturday, in any and all kinds of weather. (Single
digit temps? That’s what face masks and handwarmers are
for.) It’s fun, but it also means that until Mothers Day, I’m
going to be sore, grumpy and not much fun during Friday night
of course, burns calories — roughly 100 a mile at a moderate
pace. Only problem is, you don’t always feel like eating
before you hit the track or trail, especially when you have to
drag your body out of bed before dawn. Many runners, in fact,
barely can choke down a handful of Cheerios with their coffee
before a morning workout, let alone a bowl of oatmeal, one of
the most recommended pre-workout foods for a run of an hour or
dashing out the door on an empty stomach is a mistake.
before training has been shown to improve performance. And isn’t
that every marathoner’s goal — to be able to perform?
you’re the type who eats before going to bed, you’re going
to wake up with a completely empty tank — zero, zip, nada.
(Remember, your body has been fasting for eight or more
hours.) That could lead to fatigue or dizziness during your
workout or worse, running out of energy completely before the
big finish. Do your body good, and you’ll run strong.
pre-run breakfast consists mainly of carbohydrates, since they’re
quickly digested and are your body’s preferred fuel source,
says Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and spokesperson
for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who works with
endurance athletes. Aim for about 30 grams for runs longer
than a hour or intense workouts. You also need a little
protein to help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.
solution is a homemade energy bar. They’re easy to make the
night before, good for the body and require no thinking the
morning of. Just grab and go.
benefit of a homemade bar as opposed to, say, a CLIF bar,
notes Mangieri, is that you can adjust the ingredients based
on individual taste and needs. Looking to cut a few calories?
Simply omit the nuts or cut them into smaller portions. Not
crazy about raisins? Substitute dried cranberries or
blueberries or chop up a handful of dried apricots. Or heck,
add all three.
a bar you’ll want to eat depends on how much time until
takeoff, the number of miles planned and how fast you’re
going to log them; the fuel required to run five or six miles
is completely different from the amount needed to crank out 10
or 12 miles. If you plan on starting your run within an hour,
opt for a smaller portion that weighs in at about 200
calories; if you have more time to digest, says Mangieri, go
for a larger-sized bar that will provide closer to 300
running buddies at In Motion Athletics tried all three of the
following bars after a brisk, 10-degree run this past
Saturday, and not a crumb remained uneaten. My personal
favorite was probably the blackberry breakfast bar, which
combines the perfect amount of crunch with gooey sweetness.
But you can’t go wrong with the simple cereal-and-fruit bar
made with puffed rice and cashew butter that Mangieri
suggested. It’s crunchy, buttery, sweet and satisfying all
at the same time, and only 220 calories.
banana-oat energy bar I found in the new "Runner’s
World Cookbook" also is a winner, especially since it’s
a great way to use up those bananas you let ripen on the
counter a day or two too long. I packed them with toasted
pecans and raisins, but any nut or dried fruit will work just
rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
uncooked quick-cooking oats, whole or ground in a food
tablespoons ground flaxseed
teaspoon ground cinnamon
chopped dried fruit
chopped walnuts or almonds (or whatever nut your prefer)
brown rice syrup, honey or molasses
tablespoons dark brown sugar
nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.)
teaspoon vanilla extract
tablespoons honey, for drizzling
large bowl, combine rice cereal, oats, flax seed, cinnamon,
dried fruits and nuts. Mix well. (A large bowl is recommended
because you will need extra room for when the other
ingredients are added.)
small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring syrup and brown
sugar to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir
in nut butter and vanilla.
nut butter mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring
well (mixture will be very stiff). Use a piece of wax paper to
press the mixture into an 8-by-8-inch pan that has been
sprayed with cooking spray. Let cool.
1 tablespoon honey over the top of the pressed, cooled
mixture. Cut into 8 bars. Wrap each bar individually in
plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
per bar: 220 calories, 30 grams carbs, 6 grams protein, 9
Heather Mangieri, Nutrition Checkup (nutritioncheckup.com)
high-carb bars are extremely filling, so you may want to
portion them a bit smaller. I substituted pecans and
unbleached cane sugar or granulated sugar
teaspoon vanilla extract
cups old-fashioned rolled oats
unbleached all-purpose flour (or replace up to 1/2 cup with
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground nutmeg
teaspoon baking soda
oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with
nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 8
minutes, or just until fragrant
mash bananas in a medium mixing bowl. Add oil, sugar and
vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt,
cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. Add banana mixture and stir
until just combined. Fold in the nuts and cranberries, being
careful not to overmix.
mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30
minutes, or until top is browned and a toothpick inserted in
the middle comes out nearly clean. Allow to cool completely
per bar: 303 calories, 41 grams carbs, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams
protein, 15 grams total fat/2 grams saturated fat
"The Runner’s World Cookbook: 150 Ultimate Recipes for
Fueling Up and Slimming Down" (Rodale, Oct. 2013, $26.99)
on top and fruity in the middle, these easy breakfast bars are
loaded with slow-release carbs and fiber. Blackberries also
are high in immune-boosting vitamin C and anti-oxidants, which
help fight inflammation. So go ahead, have another after your
blackberries, defrosted if frozen
grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
packed light brown sugar
teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
teaspoon baking soda
(8 tablespoons) butter, melted
filling ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat and
bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes,
stirring regularly, until blackberries are breaking down and
taking on a sauce-like appearance (it will be thin). Remove
from heat and set aside.
flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking soda into a
medium bowl. Add butter and stir until well combined.
half the oat mixture into an even layer in a greased 8-inch
square baking pan and place in a preheated oven, at 350
degrees, for 20 minutes.
slightly, then spread blackberry filling evenly over the the
crust. Sprinkle over remaining oat mixture; use your hands to
gently press it into the filling.
to oven for another 20 minutes, until topping is golden. Let
cool, then cut into 16 bars to serve.
"Eat Yourself to Energy: Ingredients & Recipes to
Power You Through the Day" by Gill Paul
(Hachette; Jan. 7, 2014; $9.99)