Race week meal ideas for Philadelphia Marathon

Two to three days prior to the Philadelphia Marathon, increase your carbohydrates to make up 70-75% of your meals.  You can do this by simply adding an extra serving of carbohydrates to your plate — 1 cup pasta, 2/3 cup rice or quinoa, 1 slice of bread, or ½ a bagel. 

The day before the race, make lunch “The Meal” and aim to eat an early dinner to allow for ample time to fully digest your food and top off that glycogen reserve without disrupting sleep or risk feeling heavy on race morning.


  • PB&B Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal:  1 c cooked Oatmeal, 1 Tbs peanut butter, 1 Tbs raisins, sliced banana, 1 tsp vanilla, pinch of cinnamon
  • Open Face Rice Cakes:  2 Brown Rice Cakes with 1 Tbs almond butter + banana slices, drizzle of honey (for more carbs: swap whole wheat bagel in for rice cakes).
  • Cereal For Champions:  Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Multigrain Flakes with nondairy milk, berries + 1 tbs ground flax or chia seeds.
  • Smoothie: Blend ½ cup almond milk, ½ c. OJ, banana, ½ c. frozen berries, handful of greens, 1 Tbs almond butter.


  • Veggie Burger with spinach, tomato, avocado on a whole grain bun.  Serve with baked Sweet Potato fries and DIY honey mustard (1 Tbs dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey).  Real Food burgers: Hilary’sSunshine Burger
  • Burrito Bowl: 1 cup brown rice or quinoa, ½ cup black beans, ½ c bell peppers, handful of greens, ½ cup pico de gallo or salsa, ¼ avocado, lime juice, cilantro
  • Chicken and Hummus Pita: Spread ¼ cup of hummus over whole wheat lavash or pita.  Layer with a handful of spinach, slices of chicken breast, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, artichoke heats and chopped parsley.  Roll into a wrap or slice intro triangles like a pizza.


  • Orange Maple Salmon, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes & Arugula Salad: Whisk together 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp maple syrup, and the zest and juice of 1 orange. Drizzle over salmon, reserving 1 Tbs for salad dressing.  Chop potatoes and toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper.   Place salmon and potatoes in a 375 F oven until salmon is cooked through and potatoes are golden brown.  Garnish with fresh rosemary and serve with arugula salad dressed in the reserved orange maple dressing, 1 tbs of olive oil, salt and pepper. 
  • Lemon Basil Sunny-side-up Pasta: Cook pasta accordingly.  Set aside. Sauté zucchini with 1 tbs minced garlic and 1 tbs olive oil.  Add ¼ cup chopped sundried tomatoes and ½ cup of broth and reduce heat to low.  Meanwhile, cook an egg in a separate pan.  Add the pasta to the vegetables with a few tbs of cooking liquid from the pasta.  Toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with the egg on top, garnish with fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Orange Ginger Chicken & Veggie Stir-fry:  Cook brown rice accordingly and set aside.  Heat 1 tbs of oil in a sauté pan.  Add 2 tbs minced ginger, 2 tbs chopped scallions, 1 tbs minced garlic, and 1 tsp minced chile and diced chicken breast, stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Add a medley of veggies and continue to cook over high heat until crisp tender.  Reduce heat and add brown rice to the pan.  Season with low sodium tamari or soy sauce and the zest and juice of an orange.  Garnish with cilantro and chopped cashews. 


  • Hummus with Whole Wheat Crackers, Cucumber Slices, Dill (Gluten free option, try Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Kind Bar (<5 g sugar) + Banana
  • Apple Slices with Snickerdoodle Tahini dip (mash or puree 1 Tbs tahini, with ¼ cup chickpeas, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp maple syrup, and water as needed)
  • Dried dates or apricots & hard boiled egg.
  • Love Beets + roasted chickpea snacks

This article was originally published on Philly.com’s Goal Getter column.