I’ve been married to the kiwi for over 6 ½ years, which means I’ve made a lot of gluten free pre-race meals. Some have been at home, some have been in a fridgeless hotel room, and some have been at a home-stay house. Heck, I think I’ve even made pre-race meals in a camping tent! Regardless of where I’ve made these pre-race meals, it’s all about making them simple and effective, right?
Pre-Race Meals (depending on the duration/intensity of your race) need to contain:
- Real ingredients
- Easy to digest carbohydrates
- Not too rich in fiber
- Not too heavy in Protein and Fat (but also not too carb heavy)
- Sodium and Potassium (if the race is long or in the heat of the day).
With this is in mind, I’ve come up with a few of our favorite gluten free pre-race meal ideas you can make for just about any endurance event. Although, ironman race meals take more effort and more than a week to really plan and consume properly. That might be a post for another day, yes?
Okay, here we go!
NOTE: Pre Race Meals need at least 12hrs to digest. So if the race is at 7am, you might consider eating dinner before 7pm the nice before.
The Meatless Option
- 2 cups steamed sticky rice
- 3-4 eggs
- Grass-fed cheddar
- Tomato paste or Natural Ketchup
- Black pepper and sea salt
Heat rice half way. Crack eggs on top and and mix. Heat again in skillet or microwave until cooked. Add 1-2 tablespoon of tomato paste, ½ teaspoon black pepper and seas salt, and mix in large bowl. Top with ¼ cup shredded cheddar or non dairy cheese. Serves 1-2 people. This one is great before a long weekend of training too!
The Fish Option
- 2 cups Spanish rice
- 3-4oz Wild Caught Salmon
- Fruit Salsa
- Small bed of butter or spinach greens with tomato
This one is pretty simple. We steam the rice and add a little seasoning. Not too spicy. The greens are butter greens because they seem the easy to digest, unlike kale or arugula. The Salmon is grilled or baked for 10 minutes at 400F. It’s low in mercury and great source of omegas. We use fresh fruit salsa for a little extra carbs and sweetness. I will sometimes steam the greens for 20 seconds to make them easier to digest. This meal is best for shorter distances races due to higher fat content.
The GF Pasta Option
- 2 cups rice or quinoa pasta
- gluten free chicken sausage (pre-cooked if possible)
- ½ cup summer squash
- ¼ cup –½ cup Tomato sauce
- Black pepper and sea salt
- ½ bunch fresh or 1-2 tablespoon dried basil
- olive oil
Cook Pasta according to directions. Strain, add back into pot with 1-2 tablespoon olive oil. In a separate skillet, sauté your sliced squash and chicken sausage until tender. Add everything into your pasta along with tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon black pepper, sea salt, and basil. I use this dish for races longer than 3 hrs.
**Vegans—> Substitute chicken sausage for tofu or tempeh (sprouted if possible)
The Easy to throw together (and Digest) Beef or Vegan Option
- 1 cups stewed beef (Vegans –> soy free veggie burger, like sunshine burgers)
- ½ cup stewed tomatoes
- Favorite salad dressing or hummus
- sliced pepper
- Black pepper and sea salt
- GF tortillas or flatbread
This one is easy. You throw everything together in a wrap. I like using Udis GF tortillas here because they are so soft! Now, you might be thinking. Why stewed meat? Well, you can make ahead and it’s the easiest on the gut to digest. So maybe the week before the race, throw some meat in a crock pot and stew for a few hours. Then store until that weekend! Again, this one is great for shorter races.
And just in case you are stuck in a hotel with no fridge the night before a race, here’s what we do. Use the coffee pot to heat hot water. Add it to quick cook grits or gluten free oats. I always bring hard boiled eggs, bananas, and nut butters too. Then i just grab butter and honey from the breakfast bar. But this is if we’re on a super low budget and don’t go to the store. haha!
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What’s your go to Pre Race Meal? Do you have one?
Cheers to everyone racing this weekend!
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My prerace meal is typically gluten free pizza and a salad with grilled chicken!!
oh man, now i am craving pizza!
Shashi @ RunninSrilankan
I don’t really race anymore but when I did, I used to eat dates like some people drink water! I know not the healthiest but I love ’em – natures candy right?
Race or no race – these meals have their yum factor set pretty high – seriously where did you find that black pepper ketchup?
believe it or not, i found the ketchup at marshalls! haha
Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead
Thanks for sharing these! I don’t need to eat gluten-free, but I do have a super-sensitive stomach. I’m always experimenting with pre-race/long run meals, so I’ll be giving these a try!
let me know if you try any Cassie! i totally get the sensitive stomach thing
ellie @ fit for the soul
This is good to know for the future, Lindsay! I’ve had to learn about the low carb requirement the hard way back in the day…it isn’t fun when your stomach is full of undissolved stuff, hah! And the first dish almost reminds me of Korean Omelette rice (omurice). You should make Korean more often since a lot of it is GF! 😉 Tamari instead of soy sauce, of course.
you just need to come show me some amazing Korean dishes, okay? I want to learn from you!
This is great! I’m still learning about what I can and can’t eat before I run. Even though my mileage is still real low, I still have issues if I eat the wrong things the day before. I had no idea about the 12 hours. I’ll be trying some of the ones you say are good for shorter distances. Awesome!
Melanie @ Nutritious Eats
Yum- everything looks delicious and I need that black pepper Ketchup!!
These are awesome ideas, thanks! I did not know it takes 12 hours for your evening meal to digest. I’ve made the mistake of the wrong pre-race meal before! Ouch!
yes, i’ve learned the hard way too! haha. Let me know if you try these Jan!
I’m no athlete… yet… I dream of one day being able to complete a 5 k… but in the mean time, these Gluten free options are perfect for everyday too!!
YOU Can totally eat these without racing. But i know that 5k is gonna happen! we believe you can for sure!
I love this! I currently am in love with one of your recipes— the chickpea and macaroni and ‘cheese’ one. Love it with quinoa pasta, and I can make it and I like it cold or hot so it works well to throw in a cooler pre-made. Another go to “snack” in a hotel room is the pre washed/microwaveable sweet potato and nut butter combo.
Arman @ thebigmansworld
….can I eat these even if I don’t race? Well, race to my car or race to the train?
i eat them, i only race to the car as well. But hey, i WALK a ton too. haha.
Great ideas! Pre-race I like white rice mixed with coconut milk and protein powder so that I have quick carbs but have all the macronutrients balanced for satiety and staying-power throughout that race
oh that’s a good one. I eat that any day! haha. YUM.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
No racing for this girl, but I do love these for delicious and simple to digest meal ideas! Well, except for the fish one anyways 😛 But rice and eggs are a dish I cook up pretty regularly, and hotel room coffee pot oats are a regular thing when I travel. If I don’t have a fridge, I just fill up the ice bucket with ice and stash a small amount of things in there 😆
i don’t race either, but i think we still need it, right? Racing to the kitchen? LOL! rice and eggs for the win!
I don’t have a set go-to for the night before a long run but I do have a few things that I always avoid:)
The rice and eggs sounds really good and like something I could have for sure!!!
let me know if you try it kim!
She Rocks Fitness
Yummy sticky rice! Love how simple that recipe is…I haven’t done a race in a while, but it is usually a simple meal made at home with all the good stuff, necessary to help fuel this Kookie body. 🙂
Man – these all look marvelous! Pre-race is a tricky one for me so I will absolutely be checking out some of these recipes. Thanks lady!
let me know if you try any, maybe pre long run?!
Jody - Fit at 56
UMMMMMMMMMMMMM, what is pre-race? 😉 Great options though & good for those even not GF!!!! You are such a great support system to Kiwi!!!!
i need these meals to be the support crew, right? hehe
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
thanks for sharing this. although i m not racing anytime soon, its great info.
Christine @ Love, Life, Surf
ohmygosh I need this!! My stomach has been so off all week while we’re in California and have been having trouble finding things that will agree with it which is odd since it’s usually not a problem and my usual foods aren’t cutting it. Thanks for reminding me to keep it simple!
i wish i was your sherpa this weekend!
Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
I couldn’t help but notice that black pepper ketchup! That sounds amazing! Where do you normally buy it?
i think i bought this one at marshalls! haha of all places
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table
I like the fish option! Love to have seafood as my protein before a race because it digests well and isn’t too heavy. Word to your Sizzlefish.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious
Eggs and rice sounds like a stellar combo. I have not tried that one! My basics are usually fish either cod or salmon, veggies and some form of rice. I’m not a heavier carb loader. Usually a banana pre race and fruit.
Mmm such awesome meal ideas girlie! can you be my sherpa too?!
Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat
I’m obviously not training for a race, but I’d totally eat all of these dishes at anytime. They all sound delicious and I’m really liking the meatless option!
giving birth to twins.. that’s a marathon and more! haha.
My go-to pre-race meal is 3 to 4 oz lean beef and a sweet potato and a SMALL salad . . . . .although I really want a BIG salad. What I like about this meal, even though it’s not that exciting, is it is easy to order in a restaurant if travelling
oh yes, love me some steak!
Heather (Where's the Beach)
I need to come up with better meals for myself for training and racing. I like the idea of the rice. I typically go with pasta before a half marathon, but I’ve been having tummy issues lately before long-ish runs. I need to rethink my meal strategies!
uh oh! like what? maybe i can help. We’ve been through it all
Jaclyn @ BumpSweat
Feel free to come to my house and cook any time, especially that fish option. Looks so good!
you know i would love that!
Samantha @ The Faithful Runner
I love the meal ideas. I always have a hard time knowing what I should be eating pre-race. Usually I just stick with some almond butter and a banana. Can’t go wrong with that!
gotta stick with what works! agreed!
Amy @ The Little Honey Bee
Such great ideas! I typically like a few hard boiled eggs and a sweet potato with a bit of almond butter. But I am playing with this as my mileage increases. Everything looks so yummy (as usual). Have a wonderful weekend!
PS. I’m going to walk the golf course with my mom on Sunday as she plays 🙂 see… walking!
that my go to! but the kiwi doesn’t like sweet potato. Shocker, right?!
Alysia @ Slim Sanity
Great post! I think a lot of people need these kind of suggestions. I know Kyle and I both did for the various races we ran!
I love these ideas!! The meatless option would probably be my choice. I’m always just a granola bar or a peanut butter sandwich girl. 🙂 Can’t have something take too long to digest ya know? 😉
oh yes, pb sandwich for the win!!!
meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
My go-to pre race meal is always oatmeal with some banana and peanut butter mixed in. I actually use gluten free oats!
woohoo GF OATS! well done friend! and froyo after? LOL!
Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete
Mmmmm…I like them all! I don’t have a pre-race meal, really! I need to figure this out pretty soon, though. *Le eep* Harry and I can try some of these before the long run and see how things go. As always, thank you for the food ideas, inspiration, and lovely words and thoughts, friend!
thank you for reading tiff! let me know if you try any of these!
Nikki @ grab your kicks
Great meal ideas! I always struggle with knowing what to eat and when. I usually eat a banana with peanut butter, but I don’t know if it’s really the best. Thanks for the new ideas!
let me know if you need more suggestions nikki!
Yum! These look easy and delicious. I’m a fan of rice and eggs.
Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out
These are awesome ideas! Wish I had known these before my half marathon!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
Ooh I really like the salmon and avocado with fruit salsa one! I’m never really the type that eats a ton of grains (but if I do, they’re gluten free.) My night-before-a-race meals typically consist of a big salad with some sort of protein (salmon, some other fish, or chicken) and roasted sweet potato. It’s not too different to what I eat on a regular basis, but I figure if it works, why fix something that’s not broken?! Mind you, if I were like the Kiwi and doing Ironman events, I think I’d be taking in significantly more food the night before a race!
I can’t do a lot of grains either, just white rice. And i wish i could do more salad. LOL! not possible for my gut
I haven’t found a favorite gf pre-race meal yet. I would help if I were actually racing. Ugh! The fish option sounds yummy!
Great ideas Lindsay! I am afraid I am very boring in my pre race meal as I have a bagel, banana and animal crackers. Simple,very bland, and full of carbs. Although I have to get out of this habit before Chicago as the animal crackers are now out of the routine, and my doctor recommended oatmeal instead of a bagel because of what happened in the marathon. These look like great options, but I am not sure I will be adventurous enough to try them….yet, but maybe if I try before workouts, then I can see how my stomach handles it.
let me know if you try any pre long run!
Linz @ Itz Linz
so many great recipes – racing or not! when i raced, i used to always eat a bowl of oatmeal with honey, raisins, banana, peanut butter, and cinnamon!
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
Race or no race, I think the eggs and rice sounds really good! haha
haha i totally make it all the time too! i race to dinner, right?
Michele @ paleorunningmomma
Great meal ideas! I am really really careful not to upset my gut before a race so I stick to simple stuff. Plain sweet potato or with just a little ghee, chicken or mild chicken apple sausage and bananas. Also lads bars worked well while traveling. Before boston in sure people thought I was nuts bringing my own sweet potato and avocados to restaurants!
no shame in that! gotta do whatcah gotta do!
Great list of pre-race meals! It’s so important, especially at the Kiwi’s level, to get it right the night before. I always prefer racing locally since I can more easily make what I like than having to eat out the night before.