The 700 Calorie Breakfast

Since I started running again a few weeks ago I’ve been logging 20-35 miles per week (plus some yoga and cycling as cross-training). After 9 months of injury, my body definitely needs more TLC than it used to. I’m trying my best to get a good night’s sleep, use my foam roller vigilently, reduce my stress levels, and fuel myself properly.

The first thing my body wants when I wake up is really just water + coffee.  However, I realize the importance of a pre-run snack (especially if the runs are longer than 30 minutes). For the past 3 weeks I’ve been experimenting with bigger breakfasts and I think it’s really been helping my energy levels during my runs.

I don’t normally count calories, but just for kicks I tallied up yesterday’s morning meal. The total was over 700 calories and it worked out wonderfully. I normally shy away from talking about body weight and calories on the blog because I feel like these issues are very personal. What works for me or your friend or your husband or co-worker might not work for you. That being said, if you’re a runner, do not be afraid to fuel your body well.

There is a popular women’s magazine website that contains a “daily calorie needs” calculator. I plugged in my stats and this is what I got:

To maintain a healthy weight of around XXX pounds and fuel your current “very active” activity level, you need to take in about 1994.32 calories a day.

Umm, this is ridiculous! It’s one thing to get that number if you’re a sendentary or moderately active adult, but I checked the “very active” box. My point is that online calculators, books, magazines, and the media perhaps intend well, but you must listen to your body. Experiment a bit! Eat a bigger breakfast. Break your lunch up into two parts. Have an earlier dinner. A later dinner. Find out what works for you. The important thing is to fuel your body and eat enough, regardless of what a nutritionist in a magazine or website tells you.

Ok, rant over! Onto the breakfast! Pre-run was coffee and 1/2 luna bar (100 calories).

After a few minutes for digestion, I headed out the door for a 5-miler. Luckily, my hamstring/IT band wasn’t giving me much trouble. However, I was tired from lack of sleep and my long walk the night before and my legs felt pretty stiff. I finished the run in about 46:00 (9:12 pace) and stretched myself out/foam rolled for a good 10 minutes. Wish I had time for more!

I sipped on a chocolate soy milk (150 cals) as I got ready for work.

Silk and Luna

Once I settled in at my desk I re-fueled with some Stonyfield strawberry yogurt (120 cals), big apple (100 cals), and a generous serving of pumpkin raisin crunch (250 cals). I felt pretty full immediately after eating, but was hungry for lunch at the normal time. I felt like this breakfast provided a good mix of whole grains, dairy, fruit, vitamins, and minerals.

Pumpkin Raisin Crunch

Lunch was a veggie-packed salad, eaten on a bench in Central Park. The sun even peeked out for a bit!

  • romaine, shredded carrots, red onion, mushrooms
  • scoop of basil, apple, walnut, goat cheese salad
  • scoop of israeli cous-cous
  • chickpeas and white beans
  • feta and whole grain croutons
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette

Salad in the park

Note: a lot of the heavy stuff (beans!) sunk to the bottom of the salad container.

Somethin’ Somethin’ for my sweet tooth 🙂

Junior Mints

I was a bit stressed after work, so I treated myself to a pedicure. Ahh, so nice to have clean feet, pretty toes, and mini leg massage!

Later on it was time to meet up with a crew of Central Park track teammates at PopBurger in Midtown East.

Pop Burger

This place definitely fits in to the neighborhood (the Museum of Art and Design and the MoMA are both just blocks away!). The downstairs features a take-out counter, modern lighting, and Andy Warhol soup can art work.

Pop Burger

Our crew, however, headed to the upstairs lounge. We situated ourselves on the upholsterd sofas and perused a menu featuring burgers and cocktails. Luckily, the slider platter featured a vegetarian option – portobello burgers! These were delish – breaded portobello mushroom, lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a mini brioche bun. I had two of my mini burgers and shared the other one with Alma – perfect amount!

Mushroom Pop Burger

I also sampled a few of the onion rings – light and crispy! Mmm, fast food. Will it make us run fast?

Pop Burger Table

CPTC Girls

CPTC

After dinner, we headed downstairs for a little birthday celebration. The group was celebrating a bunch of September birthdays and Ani procured a bounty of Crumbs cupcakes for us to share.

Hooray!

The cupcakes were cut into bite size peices  so that we could sample a bunch of flavors. I tried the Reese’s peanut butter cup, Cappuccino chocolate chip, and the Red Velvet. Soooo good. The peanut butter cup was definitely my favorite!

Crumbs Cupcakes!

It was a very fun night, but I didn’t get home until nearly 11pm. I can’t wait to spend a quiet night at home – so much I need to catch up on!

Question: What’s your favorite thing to do when you have a whole night to yourself? I love to watch cheesy TV shows and bake cookies!

Do you keep a running/cycling/exercise  log? I’ve been using Running2win for a few years now and I love it! Strands is another online log that’s gaining in popularity.

Amby Burfoot weighs in on the ideal weight for runners.

A 3-hour long yoga class benefiting breast cancer? A free tarot card reading? Martinis and golf? Take your pick, these fun events are all happening this weekend in the NYC area!

  • I love eating big breakfasts as a runner. I feel it does wonders for my running and keeps me properly fueled. Still trying different combos though.
    Thanks for this great post!

  • Pumpkin Raisin Crunch? How in the world do I not have a box of this yet? 🙂 Even though I know I should eat better before my morning run, I hate running on a full stomach. Maybe I just haven’t found that balance between being full and being full enough to where I`m benefiting from the nutrition.

  • My eating habits seem to be changing constantly. I try to just listen to my body but it is hard when you’re someone who’s used to routine! I definitely eat a bigger breakfast these days and I always break my lunch into two or even three parts!
    I use mapmyrun.com to track my mileage – I also track my other workouts in there – it’s like a virtual pat on the back/kick up the arse (depending on how active I’ve been!) when I look over the month. I’ll be checking out those others though.

    Mini burgers and mini bits of different cupcakes = pure delight!

    Thanks for the interesting calorie count – it’s always interesting to look at that kind of thing from time to time.

  • I agree that most of the online calculators out there are flawed and bias. It really takes a lot of time, patience, and practice, but the best thing truly is at an individual level
    Those cupcakes look amazing btw and make me want to eat my computer screen 🙂

  • Sometimes I do like to keep track of my caloric intake just to make sure that I’m taking in enough calories when I’m training a lot. Although I don’t “count” calories on a regular basis, I think that it is important to have an idea of how many calories might be in an item. I think that it is important to KNOW about your food!

    I like to do exactly what you like doing when I’m all alone! I don’t know why I get the urge to bake cookies when no one is around, but I do!

  • thank you for this post!

    lately, i have mentally tallied the calories in my breakfast (bad habit…resurfaces sometimes) but they have been upwards of 5, 6, 700 calories too. however, with all this running and training, my body NEEDS it. i NEED more fuel earlier, then lunch and dinner are usually smaller.

    soooo thank you. love you, and those cupcakes 🙂

  • Oh man, I’ve wanted to try pop burger for the longest time! I love the Crumbs cupcakes! The red velvet one is awesome!

  • Ada

    I am totally a big-breakfast eater as well, especially since I always exercise in the morning as well. Your pumpkin granola looks quite delicious, I’m definitely going to look out for it next time I’m in Whole Foods:)

  • j

    Those calculators are just so… off. At 5’2″ and semi-active they reccommend about 1500 calories for me! That is just undeniably UNHEALTHY!

  • j

    Also wanted to mention how detrimental I think it is to all society how health is nearly always equated to low-cal. So often I see nutritionists ranting about how great veggies are because they are so low in calories and failing to even mention their actual NUTRITION. And peanut butter? Be sure to keep the portion size to one tablespoon!
    I mean, seriously its like all nutritional advice these days is weight loss advice!

  • Lizzy

    i’m still trying to experiment with pre running meals, but so far so good! i love seeing what you fuel yourself with! 🙂

    http://saladdiva.wordpress.com

  • for me – A person who is trying to lose weight I take advice from my nutritionist 🙂 I am active moderate level – 5 days a week and to lose a healthy 2 pounds per week (until that tapers off to 1 or less) my caloric needs would be 1200-1500…pretty low eh! But It seems to satisfy me 🙂 I agree it is a personal thing…I know marathon runners who NEED to eat lots of calories to maintain their weight because they are running so often…

    and also, those cupcakes sound divine!

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  • I’m new to your blog, and LOVE your healthy perspective on eating — calorie intake, weight and eating habits are such personal things, and vary greatly from runner to runner. Sounds like you’ve got your needs down to a T! Thanks for sharing your successes with the rest of us!

  • Thanks for all the great comments everyone! I love hearing everyone’s different perspectives on food and running. I think it’s important to remember that an online calorie calculator, a magazine article, or even this blog won’t always have the best advice for every body.

    Happy running and eating, Megan