Fall Guest Post Series: Natalie (Running, and What Not)

Today’s guest post focuses on pre-race fuel! When Natalie of Running, and What Not e-mailed me with the idea, I immediately agreed. I’ve never run a race, and this post is extremely helpful for us newbie runners who are totally clueless as to the logistics of running races and what to eat beforehand.

Before I let Natalie take it away, I want to do some Rosey Rebecca housekeeping!


Hello all!

First and foremost, I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the beautiful Rosey Rebecca for this opportunity. I’m relatively new to blogging [well I feel like it anyway ;)] but I find myself comfortable in doing this, and my hopes are to inspire and motivate those into leading healthy lives, all the while having some fun while we’re all at it. I will admit that it’s not always sunshine and happiness, but that is the same in life, right? You gotta get though a few thunderstorms to see some rainbows. With that said, on to the nitty gritty!!

When I first contacted Rebecca, I pitched the idea of making ‘pre race’ meals for those who eat meat, vegetarians, and vegans. When I say ‘pre race’, I mean the night before. Before you embark on any kind of endurance journey, you should ALWAYS make sure there’s a little fuel in the tank. If this means waking up 3 hours before your event, having some oatmeal and letting it digest – so be it. Trust me, you don’t want to be bonking at mile 10, with ‘just’ 3 miles to go during a half marathon. That little number can definitely play some hardcore mental games!

Note: when I say "safe", it means that you will want to stay away from anything dairy, all things super greasy, as well as spicy. Also, this is not the time to try something new. If you’re training for any kind of endurance event, you know your body the BEST. Heck, for all I know, maybe you ARE the person that drinks beer and has greasy pizza the night before a marathon. If you are, more power to you – I secretly hate you and I wish I could do so without ill effect… By the time you’ve worked your way up to the point in your training in which you’re confident that you know what you’re doing physically, you probably know by race day what your body needs the night before. These are some ideas to get you started, in case you are searching for something new, or if you’re new to this and totally lost. We all start somewhere.

For those of us who eat meat, I threw together a dinner with simple carbohydrates, protein and a hunk of vitamins and iron. I personally had this before my half marathon and it worked wonderfully. Plus, if you add enough garlic, there’s a good chance that no one is going to want to be around you anyway 😉


What You Will Need

your choice in size of salmon

1 sweet potato

1 serving of farfalle pasta

What You Can Add

1 medium onion, chopped [salmon]

1 cloved of garlic, sliced thinly  [salmon]

1 lemon [salmon]

Capers, to taste  [salmon/pasta]

Cinnamon, sugar; or whatever your favorite, but safe, sweet potato topping you’d like.

Start with the baked potato first. I know what you’re thinking, "Micki. Please. That is a no-brainer." Well, my friends, there are times where I just do not think. I did this all backwards, starting with cooking my salmon up, then halfway through, remembering that I had to bake a potato AND get pasta going. MAJOR thinking fail. Anyway, go over to your oven, set that sucker to 375. Once your oven is done with it’s pre-heating song and dance, place the potato on a cookie sheet and let it do it’s thing for about 45 minutes, or until tender. This is a good time to start boiling your water for pasta as well. While you’re waiting on the water to boil, get the garlic/onions ready for the salmon. Once the water has come to a boil, throw the pasta in and move on to the salmon. Sauté the onions until translucent and throw in the garlic. Once this is nice and aromatic, quickly brush a little olive oil on both sides of your salmon and throw it in the pan. Turn the heat to about a medium-low, add lemon juice and let it slowly cook. What I did to ensure the salmon didn’t dry up, was to keep an eye on it and every now and again throw a little extra water for moisture. Salmon can cook quickly, so make sure your heat isn’t too overpowering – when the salmon is done, go ahead and add the capers. By this time your pasta should be al dente, so go ahead and strain it and going through the motions of preparing that. The potato shouldn’t be too much longer now, and when that’s done, ‘dress it up’ like you want it. I didn’t make a pasta sauce, but instead used the onion/garlic/capers mix over the pasta. I may or may not have also had a brownie for dessert.


Vegetarians can have this amazingly yummy recipe. While I’m not a vegetarian, I would gladly eat this. Sidebar: My dad, a hardcore meat-and-potatoes man said of this dish "Yeah not bad. I’d gladly eat this"  I followed this recipe. What I would recommend, is splitting this recipe in half, especially if you’re the only one eating it. I halved the recipe, and 3 days later we’re just down to the last two servings of it. I also had a brilliant idea, albeit too late, to add mushrooms to this dish. Here are some photos of what this looks like – honestly, it looks and tastes just like lasagna without meat. The lemon gives it somewhat of a zing, and the amount of cheese was perfect. Not too heavy to where you would think it could cause you to feel somethin’ funny in the tummy the next day.


Onto the Vegans. To a meat eater such as me, this was a challenge. Onto Google I went. Onto Google I went, and got sidetracked… I somehow went from ‘vegan recipes’ to looking at failed Facebook updates. Anyway, I focused long enough to gather enough for a recipe. Not one recipe in particular contributed to this, but more so a compilation of ideas I got by asking around.

Lentil Pasta

What You Will Need


1 serving of farfalle pasta

mushrooms, sliced

1 box of dark vegetable stock

your choice of herbs

carrots and celery

one sourdough bread bowl.

Bring 3/4 of the vegetable stock to a boil, add the lentils and herbs [I personally didn’t do anything crazy, just some rosemary]. While this was boiling, I went ahead and made the pasta in a separate pot. I didn’t know, or what to find out, if my pasta would get too soggy waiting on the lentils to cook. After the lentils have been at a slow rolling boil for about 15 minutes, add the mushrooms, carrots and celery. You’re only going to need this to ‘brew’ for another 5 minutes, so this would be a good time to go ahead and tackle the bread bowl. Just cut the top off of a sourdough bread bowl and gut it like a pumpkin. If you’re like me and don’t like wasting food, you could even toast the remaining bread in the oven. To do this, piece the crumbs into bite-size bits and set into the oven after it’s reached "broiler" status. They should only be in there for 5-10 minutes, depending on how toasty you want your make shift croutons. Back to the soup – After about 5 minutes, go ahead and put your pasta into the soup – what I did here was fully cook the pasta to al dente, but you could also just cook the pasta in the stock itself. I was just being a pansy. Here, I do something that drives my husband nuts. I personally think it’s clever. You chose. I put the remaining 1/4 of stock into the soup, right before taking it off the stove. I like to do this, so that it adds a last minute punch to the soup, AND it cools the soup down considerably. Transfer the soup into your bread bowl, and you are good to go!! Word to the wise, while you still have a bread BOWL, you should probably use a plate underneath it. Say… if maybe you get really overzealous with scooping out bread guts and you accidentally scrape the bottom of the bowl a little too thin… you wouldn’t want soup seeping out of the bottom… I’ll also add that my mom added avocado chunks to her soup. While I can’t just east avocado plainly, she insisted that it was delicious. OOOH, and also, if this is going to turn into a leftover dish, be forewarned that the dark broth will dye your pasta. I about died when I went back the next day – until of course, this whole common sense thing smacked me in the face.

Well I hope that this has helped you in some way or another. If you hated this and want to take nothing from this blog post, at least know the minimum – carbs, starch, and humor. That’s what you need to load up on the night before an endurance event. Carbs, starch and protein are obvious, but the humor is probably the most important part. You’re not going to get anywhere if you’re uptight and stressed about your race. So remember: eat, breathe, do what you do best. You do this ALL the time. You KNOW what you are doing. Do it well, do it with confidence, and HAVE FUN with it.

Thanks, Natalie!!

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  1. This is such a helpful post! I always struggle with knowing what to eat the night before a race, and I always hate when I’m advised simply to “carbo-load” on pasta (failing to include protein and other nutrients). Great recipes that I’ll be sure to try!

  2. Natalie, this post just makes me want to read your blog! You have such a great sense of humor and provide some awesome eating/running tips. (I never do anything special with my dinner before a race but I have a little tradition of having banana soft serve for a snack the night before a race and toast with nut butter the day of.) Thanks! 🙂

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