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A Pre-Run Snack that Brings Out the Kid in Us

WHY YOU NEED AN AFTERNOON SNACK + OUR CURRENT FAVORITE (EASY!) RECIPE

When it comes to nutrition, morning runs are fairly easy: Nosh on something small and carb-y while drinking your coffee and then head out the door. It’s late afternoon and evening workouts that require planning because, more often than not, you’re lacing up your shoes four to six hours after your last meal. And, without a mid-afternoon snack, you're running on empty.

According to nutritionist, running coach, and elite ultrarunner Stephanie Howe Violett, starting a run depleted is not a good idea. “It can be tempting to just head out the door, but eating a small snack can be beneficial before an afternoon run,” she says. “The pre-run snack should be mostly carbohydrate with a little bit of fat and protein to give you energy and boost your blood glucose.”

The result? You’ll not only have a better workout, but you’ll experience faster recovery, too.

VIOLETT'S SUGGESTIONS: TOAST WITH NUT BUTTER AND HONEY, A HOMEMADE MUFFIN, OR A NUTRITION BAR


In order to eat a balanced snack with protein, fat, and carbs, you need to get it down at least two to three hours before your workout stresses Carol Gilpin, registered dietician, and owner of Fleet Feet Sports Vacaville, CA. If it's closer to an hour before your run, it’s best to stick to something simple and easy to digest—think carb heavy—especially if you’re planning on a speed session.

GILPIN'S SUGGESTIONS: A BANANA, A GEL, OR CHOCOLATE ALMOND MILK


Despite a long list of stellar suggestions, we couldn’t help but gravitate toward a childhood comfort food in our test kitchen this week. So, we made rice crispy treats with a performance twist: Instead of marshmallows, we used GU Energy Toasted Marshmallow Gel. Carbs (puffed rice cereal and GU) and a little bit of fat (coconut oil).

We made them, we ate some, and then, an hour later, we went for a run. So far so good. In fact, we think you should try them, too.

To make your own Performance Rice Crispy Treats, you’ll need the following:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 2 packets of Toasted Marshmallow GU
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the coconut oil.
  2. Add both gel packets to oil and combine.
  3. Immediately remove from heat and pour in puffed rice cereal.
  4. Stir, stir, stir, and stir some more until all cereal pieces are covered in the GU mixture.
  5. Transfer to your pre-greased pan.
  6. Pop in the fridge to cool.
  7. Cut into squares.
  8. Enjoy. Then run.