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Five breakfasts to fuel your Challenge Events training

An hour and a half in and I suddenly find myself despairing. I find I am battling with my runner’s conscience, finding every excuse under the sun to cut short the training I have been gearing myself up for all week since that 13-miler around the Thames Path. 

How have my energy levels depleted already?

With just about two months to go, this is bad, very bad. There’s no way I can make up these excuses on Marathon race day and let my donors down. As I feel my legs quickly tire and my body temperature plunge, I catch a glimpse of my pale reflection in an office window in the heart of the City, I soon remember that this was self-inflicted because all I had for breakfast was a miniscule bowl of sugar-laden cereal.

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Have you ever found yourself flagging in a gruelling training run or cycling session? Whether you’re a runner, walker, hiker or cyclist, here are five delicious and energy-storing breakfasts full of carbs, protein and good fats – I’ve even tried and tested them for you! – that will keep you ticking over nicely until the end of your Team Sally Army training.

Porridge with banana and honey

This hearty breakfast favourite provides the optimum blend of protein, fibre and slow-release energy to get you going – and, more importantly, keep you going. Try making a steaming bowl of porridge oats from scratch on the hob for the tastiest results. 

Improve your performance by adding chopped banana for an extra energy boost – they are an excellent source of potassium which will replace any lost through heavy exercise and sweating. It is also brilliant for preventing muscle cramps! Mix a dollop of honey into the bowl for a natural sweetener and healthier alternative to a teaspoon of sugar (thanks to its unrefined properties).

Eggs on wholemeal toast with spinach, tomato and smoked salmon

Eggs – the perfect pre-run protein fix, crucial for muscle repair and recovery. Boil them, scramble them, poach them or fry them – however you like them. The protein in these babies will keep you full and alert for hours after devouring them. Jazz up your eggs with an extra helping of protein with smoked salmon. Spinach will give you a dose of vitamins for bone strength and fibre in tomatoes will improve gastrointestinal health. Wholemeal or wholegrain breads are an excellent source of slow-release energy and will keep you fuller and energised for longer.

French toast with honey and almonds

My Nana used to make the best French toast so, in her honour, I whipped up this hybrid of carbohydrates and protein for a long-distance run. Soak a couple of slices of wholemeal or seeded bread in whisked eggs (protein) and milk then pop in a frying pan and cook till golden brown. To serve, drizzle a tablespoon of honey over the toast for a naturally sweet taste and top with almonds (packed with Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium) – they are believed to offset muscle damage, strengthen bones and boost energy for intense training sessions.

Peanut butter and mashed avocado on wholemeal toast 

Not the best breakfast if you have a nut allergy, but this sticky savoury snack is another of my go-to choices if I’m on my feet for long periods of time. This quick bite provides a feeling of fullness that will carry you through the day and through the hardest of training sessions. Full of fats, protein and fibre, this versatile spread gives you a slow, sustained release of energy. Butter up some slices of wholemeal or wholegrain bread and you are sure to keep hunger at bay for hours after your morning meal. Loaded with some very important nutrients, good fats and fibre, be sure to add some mashed avocado to this pre-run preserve. An unusual combo, you may be thinking, but it tastes great and is actually a popular choice among body builders!

Breakfast for the non-breakfast-eater

If you’re one of those people who can’t stomach breakfast, why not feast your eyes on the humble smoothie instead! If you have a smoothie maker, food processor or even a hand blender, whip up a smoothie or shake in no time using fresh fruits, vegetables or both, with a splash of almond milk or Greek yoghurt. We like the idea of this one for our pre-run protein fix…

 

Healthy chocolate peanut butter protein smoothie

Blend all the ingredients in the order listed until thick and smooth

  • 1 large banana, peeled, sliced and frozen
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 oz Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt (or 2%, flavoured or unflavoured)
  • 177 ml milk (full-fat, skimmed or almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (any kind you like)
     

Enjoy and all the best with your training!

Gaby

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