3 Reasons Why Potatoes Are My Go-To Food Before a Race



Everyone has staples in their food life. You know…foods that you can just never get tired of or also known as your favorite foods.

Growing up, my favorite food probably flip-flopped between chicken fingers and peanut butter and jelly. Obviously, one of these foods has been nixed off of my food list, but good ol’ PB&J has remained true to its deliciousness throughout the years. Sure, I’ve chosen to make it a bit more sophisticated than what I used to eat but I never stray from calling it a PB&J. Here’s a quick look at my relationship with this classic sandwich throughout my life:

–Jif peanut butter and grape jelly on white bread

–Jif peanut butter and grape jelly on whole wheat bread

–Jif peanut butter and strawberry jam on whole wheat bread (high school; sometimes peanut butter and banana)

–Natural peanut butter and strawberry preserves on Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain bread (early college)


…………………Okay, I’m back. Had to have me some PB&J on a couple rice cakes…go figure! And continuing…

–Natural peanut butter or almond butter and strawberry preserves on sprouted grain bread with spinach leaves in the middle (started mid-late college)

–Organic nut butter and strawberry preserves on gluten-free New Cascadia (Thank you, Portland!) bread

Whew! Yeah. It’s been quite a ride.

But while PB&J is one of my favorite foods and I can probably eat it for every meal of the day for quite a while before ever questioning my food boredom, there is one food in particular that ever since college, I’ve established a tradition with…


The 3 reasons why Potatoes are my go-to dinner the night before a race:

no1  My body digests them easily. I can never find a simple answer for whether a not a potato is a simple-carbohydrate source or one for complex-carbs. Since boiled potatoes have a higher glycemic index (about 80-85), they are very quick to become glucose and ready to be used as energy for your body. Because of this, eating them for dinner allows my body to easily digest them, and has that glucose build-up all ready for my race in the morning. For this reason, I can get away with starting the race fasted and not have to take in any fuel until at least 45 minutes into the race. The difference I feel when I’ve eaten potatoes for dinner and have a hard run or race the next morning is so noticeable compared to when I eat other typical dinner foods for me such as legumes or veggie stir-fry type dishes. Potatoes haven’t led to an upset stomach once in all the years of my keeping to this tradition!medals

Some medals to represent some of the races I’ve run since being in Portland and I ate potatoes the night before each one.

no2The nutrition. Potatoes are an incredible source of potassium which is an electrolyte that is very much needed when running. One medium sized potato has about 900mg or about 25% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. Potatoes are also very high in B6 which is important for heme production in red blood cells and since hemoglobin is important for oxygen circulation, runners should make heme-rich plant foods their best friends.  Potatoes are also a good source of both types of fiber so this can help with digestion and flushing out waste (insoluble) before the gun goes off as well as keeping you full longer (soluble).

no3I love them. Even with all the proper nutrition and digestibility they have, if I didn’t like potatoes, I would just find a new food that fits the bill. But, boiled, mashed, sweet, white, red, yammy, French and fried (gasp!…very much in moderation),  breakfast, lunch, or dinner…it does not matter to me–potatoes will always be my go-to food for comfort, taste, nutrition, and running.


Cheesey Potatoes from Portobello Trattoria in Portland.

What is your go-to food before a race–either dinner the night before or the morning food you always have hours before toeing the line? Why is that the food you stick with or do you keep things flexible?  Oh and most importantly…what’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?




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