Marathon Runners: How To Make The Most Of The Food At The Athlete's Village

April 13, 2016

On race day, the first thing you want is to feel your best and the last thing you want is to wonder how to make that happen. Use these strategies to get the most out of the pre-race food offerings with the least amount of effort.

Ellen London
Marathon Runners: How to Make the Most of the Food at the Athlete's Village | WGBH | Craving Boston

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that's never more the case than when that day consists of running 26.2 miles straight. Here's a quick roundup of the food and drink offerings available for runners at the Athlete's Village in Hopkinton before the race, and three suggestions for what to pack to make your pre-race fuel wicked tasty:


1. Creamy coconut coffee

Bring this:

  • Small carton of coconut milk
  • Raw coconut flakes

Many sports nutritionists recommend avoiding dairy before you run because lactose, a natural sugar found in milk, is tough for your body to digest on-the-go and can lead to a stomach ache. Don’t let an emergency bathroom stop add minutes to your time. Instead, bring along some coconut milk, which still has energy-boosting sugar, vitamin D, and B-12 — minus the lactose. Bonus: it’s naturally sweet, so you can skip the artificial sweeteners. Add a generous splash of coconut milk plus a few flakes of raw coconut to the black coffee available at the Athlete’s Village to mimic a creamy latte.

2. Peanut butter banana CLIF® Bar bites

Bring this:

Packed with potassium, which limits muscle cramping, bananas are a race-day staple. And you’d better believe they’ll be available in Hopkinton by the bunch. There will also be CLIF bars, which are delicious and packed with carbs and protein…but also notoriously dense on a jittery stomach. Here’s a handy way to make the most of both items. Peel your banana and split it open along the seam so you have two halves, the long way. Line each side with peanut butter (Justin’s individual packets will do the trick, utensil-free). Next, separate your CLIF bar into small, bite-size chunks and smoosh them into the peanut butter. Close the banana, sandwich-style, then break off bite-sized portions while washing down with Gatorade or Poland Spring Water (both also available at the start.)

3. Pumped-up maple bagels

Bring this:

  • 1-2 packets of Untapped pure maple syrup packets
  • A handful of raisins

There will be plenty of bagels available at the start, but they’ll be cold, untoasted, and pretty bland (not to mention, unsliced). Pump them up with some maple syrup; the original packets from Untapped are great for spreading your bagel without getting sticky syrup all over your hands. Made in Vermont, they contain only natural maple syrup, a great source of pre-race carbs without stomach-ache-inducing artificial ingredients. Sprinkle a few raisins on top to promote pre-race digestion (just be sure to give yourself enough time to hit the Porta-Johns before the start). Pro-tip: go for a whole wheat bagel, which is typically higher in protein to promote muscle recovery and B-12 vitamins which support cardiovascular health.

As any marathoner will tell you, the last thing you want to try on race day is anything new. So try these recipes before your workouts in the days leading up to the race — and make sure they work for your body at the main event. Run fast, run strong - and have fun out there! 

  • April 12, 2016