Once upon a time, long, long, ago, I was a competitive distance runner. It was 1998, everyone was listening to something called The Backstreet Boys, and I thought that Powerbars were the key to success. My pre-race diet consisted of a bucket-size bowl of pasta and marinara sauce, followed by a purple PowerBar that tasted strongly of children's Tylenol. Two hours before my morning race, I would eat a banana-flavored bar and then run two miles around a track. I credited my race times to my stellar diet, but truth be told, my speed was most likely due to the fact that I was 16.
Today, I am training for a half-marathon, and PowerBars are no longer providing me with super speed or a pleasant taste experience. Luckily, there are more delicious pre- and post-run meals one can enjoy that will provide long-term fuel during runs, whether you're pulling sub six-minute miles or finishing a grueling hour of "wogging" (a technical term for walk-jogging).
Runner's World recently listed 15 superfoods that are beneficial for runners' health and performance, including eggs, black beans, mixed salad greens, salmon, chicken, oranges, mixed berries and dark chocolate. And luckily, there are local restaurants that offer well-balanced meals featuring many of these foods, because let's face it - no one wants to cook after wogging six miles.
1. Blackened Salmon Wrap
$8.25, Parilla Grill, 635 NW 14th Street
Burritos can be great running fuel, especially when they're packed with Omega 3-heavy salmon, spinach, and rice. Ask for black beans and you've got a protein-packed wrap that will fuel even your longest weekend runs.
2. Blood Orange Chicken
5 Fusion and Sushi Bar, 821 NW Wall Street #100
While 5 Fusion has many sushi options that are great race foods, the grilled blood orange chicken dish may be the best option for runners. The grilled chicken breast is topped with a blood orange glaze (another superfood) sweetened with honey and served with steamed carrots and snap peas.
3. Quiche Lorraine
$8 (lunch menu) Tart Bistro, Minnesota Ave
This egg-heavy lunch dish is baked with Gruyere cheese and bacon, and served with a spring mixed salad. Yes, the bacon might be a lot if you're running 100-meter sprints, but if you're a distance runner, you'll appreciate the extra calories, and as Tart's chef, Joe Benevento says, "there really isn't much bacon, and bacon tastes good."