5 perfect pre-run breakfasts

Muesli smoothie

HOW TO Whizz one large banana in a blender with a splash of orange juice. Gradually add 200ml more juice, pour in two tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt and a generous handful of muesli. Mix until completely smooth.

HOW COME Smoothies are the ideal pre- or post-exercise nutrition, as they give your body the nutrients it needs in liquid format, which is more easily processed for faster results. “This gives you 230kcals of both fast and slow-release energy to get you going, as well as top up energy levels when you start to tire,” says sports dietician Jane Griffin. “The banana and orange juice will count as two of your five-a-day and provide vital antioxidants to keep your immune system from suffering due to hard training.” 

Fiery salmon bagel

HOW TO Slice a wholegrain bagel in half and fill with 130g smoked salmon. Take 30g cream cheese and season with black pepper, stir in chilli flakes to taste and spoon on top of the salmon before closing the bagel.

HOW COME The protein in the salmon and the wholegrains in the bagel give this meal an extremely low GI, which researchers at the University of Hertfordshire found increased running performance over 10-mile trials. “Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit your heart and circulatory system,” explains nutritionist Carina Norris. Jolting your metabolism into gear with spicy food first thing will help you burn more fat both during your run and over the rest of the day. 

Melon yoghurt pot

HOW TO Take a small cantaloupe melon, cut in half and remove seeds to leave a decent hollow. In a bowl, mix pumpkin seeds into half a tub (250g) of plain natural yoghurt then spoon into the melon. Eat, discard, run.

HOW COME While the simple sugars in the melon will give you the instant fix of energy required for your training, the combination of dairy, fruit and seeds will protect your joints from wear and tear on the road. Vitamin C is a major component of cartilage and encourages the effective action of anti-inflammatory lipids to prevent unnecessary soreness later in the day. Seeds contain a spectrum of essential fats required for proper joint health.

Dark chocolate porridge

HOW TO Pour 40g of porridge oats into a pan with 265ml of milk and a pinch of salt. Simmer for four to five minutes, stirring regularly. Top with a square of grated dark chocolate.

HOW COME 40g of classic oats provides 37g of slow-release carbs at the expense of only 270kcals, while the dark chocolate gives you antioxidants, a boost of sugar and, of course, flavour. “The salt will replace the sodium you lose through sweat while running,” says Jane Griffin.

Tiramisu on toast

HOW TO Toast two slices of wholegrain bread, top each with one tbsp of mascarpone cheese and two tsp of honey. Wash down with a 200ml glass of orange juice.

HOW COME A simple way to give your body and brain what it needs before exercise. The brain gets its fuel from the liver, which starts the day depleted of energy after a night’s sleep. Eating a quick snack like this will help you feel mentally sharp and the small dose of fat from the cheese will control your appetite. “Honey is an excellent source of natural sugars,” says sports dietician Karen Reid. “When coupled with the toast, you get two types of readily absorbed carbohydrate and a boost of fructose and glucose from the orange juice.”