December 7, 2023


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What 5 Runners Eat to Prep for the New York Marathon

2 min read

What’s a typical day of eating in the week leading up to the marathon?
The honest answer is that I have not followed any type of meal plan or diet. My daughters are four and almost two, so I mostly survive on the rejected scraps of my children and the same five meals we rotate through every week.

For this week specifically, I have tried to up my breakfast protein with eggs, yogurt, and the like. Coffee and fruit are a must. Lunches are typically leftovers (like barbecue chicken or taco bowls) or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, and fruit.

For dinner, a farro bowl with kebab meat, roasted corn, chickpeas, feta, and tzatziki sauce with bread.

Snacks have typically been peanut butter-filled pretzels, cheese, or leftover Halloween candy. Definitely very limited on alcohol, which is not terribly different from what is typical, but I’m more acutely aware of my intake this week.

What do you eat on the day before the race?
Breakfast will be a bagel with some type of protein (eggs, bacon, cheese), good coffee, and fruit.

Lunch will be something light like a sandwich, and dinner will be a good whole-wheat pasta with red sauce and protein and bread. I limit vegetables and fiber because tummy troubles for distance runners are real and devastating.

What do you eat the morning of the race? Why?
Before any long run I make overnight oats with steel-cut oats, walnuts, dried cherries, honey, and this delicious oat milk from Trader Joe’s. Then I’ll grab a banana or some toast and maybe a protein bar. And coffee. Always coffee with half and half.

Do you bring snacks with you while you run?
Having never done this type of distance, snacking while running is new to me. Over the last few months I’ve discovered Gu chews and have also tried trail mix or chocolate chip Larabars. These are easy on my stomach and I get a lot of bang for my buck. Running in North Carolina in the summer was sweaty and miserable, so the trail mix and liquids with a high salt content were extremely important.

What is the first thing you eat right after the race?
Salt. And lots of it. Anything salty. Chips, pretzels, crackers. I love a salt bagel followed by a bagel BLT when I’m ready for a full meal. Sushi for dinner and a glass of wine. And chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Luke Sampson-Doyle, 31, Brooklyn

This year marks Sampson-Doyle’s fifth New York City marathon, and his fifth overall.

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