These easy recipes for marathon training will help boost your recovery and ensure you’re eating a varied, nutritious array of easy meals to boost performance.
As marathon training continues to ramp up, I know quick, easy dinners will become more and more important. So, I thought putting together a list of EASY, QUICK recipes would be helpful not only for me, but for others who are training for a marathon right now.
Many of these are perfectly aligned with our sports nutrition course recommendations for fueling well, too!
If you’re interested in more nutrition posts geared towards runners, you may want to check out:
- The best recovery foods for endurance exercise
- How my nutrition changes during marathon training
- How inadequate nutrition can affect training
Why Are Quick Easy Recipes So Important for Runners?
We’re all busy. We all have lots on our plates, from work, to parenting, to growing a business, to managing finances and travel, grocery shopping.
And on top of all that, there’s our training schedule and somewhere in between, we have to find time to cook meals that fuel us for our training.
Oh, and we can’t forget, we need to sleep, too! Ideally, at least 7 hours a night to help with recovery and performance.
As mentioned in the Current Sports Medicine Report, “Along with being an integral part of the recovery and adaptive process between bouts of exercise, accumulating evidence suggests that increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality in athletes are associated with improved performance and competitive success.”
“In addition, better sleep may reduce the risk of both injury and illness in athletes, not only optimizing health but also potentially enhancing performance through increased participation in training,” they write (1).
In short, we all have too much to think about and do so easy dinners usually win out if we want to avoid take out every night.
What Are The Best Easy Recipes For Marathon Training?
I love going out to eat but it’s not feasible for my family (or wallet) to do it more than occasionally. So, we had to come up with a system that works for eating at home. Nights are usually rushed, especially on nights I’m seeing clients.
But, it’s definitely possible to still eat healthy while training and busy.
Here are my top tips:
- Stock your pantry! You need to have easy ingredients on hand to make easy meals.
- Invest in some devices to make your life easier. I suggest:
- a good cast iron skillet
- a slowcooker and/or instant pot
- meal prep containers so you have the capacity to store meals (I prefer these to plastic because they are reusable and more environmentally friendly)
- avocado/fruit/veggie covers so you can prevent food waste! At least for me, this entices me to buy more products knowing I can save them after using them once.
- a strong blender. I rely on the ninja for all of my smoothies and even baked good recipes.
- nice to have addition’s (but not necessary)
So, let’s talk about how we can use these products to make easy recipes for marathon training season.
Marathon Nutrition Tips
Whether you’re marathon training or not, you gotta love and appreciate the tiniest bit of meal prep to make your post run meals and snacks easier. Don’t worry – it won’t be that bad. I have PLENTY of easy recipes for marathon runners to share with you today.
And if you’re looking for more nutrition tips for race day nutrition, I’ve got you covered.
What Should You Be Eating During Marathon Training?
Having ready to made meals available or that can be made quickly will greatly improve your nutrition. We know that the co-ingestion of carbohydrate and protein has positive effects on post-exercise recovery in endurance athletes, in comparison to carbohydrate alone (2).
Marathon nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, though. Having protein sources available, like fish, dairy products, beans and lentils, chicken, seafood, whole grains and more, will increase the likelihood of eating enough protein.
Specifically, ingesting protein after exercise has been associated with reduced post-exercise muscle soreness, attenuated biomarkers of sarcolemmal disruption (i.e., creatine kinase and myoglobin), enhanced mood/energy states, recovery of muscle function, and subsequent exercise performance.
So, let’s get to some easy meals for marathon training.
Why Are Sheetpan Dinners Ideal for Runners?
First, let’s talk about sheet pan dinners!
These easy dinner recipes do all the work for you and generally require minimal ingredients and cooking times.
Not only do they make the cooking process a breeze (sheetpan meal prep is easy and quick), but they make clean up extra quick and efficient as well. And there are so many delicious combinations you can make that include protein, energy-efficient carbohydrates and antioxidant-boosting veggies.
For example, whip up a stir fry in the oven with this sheet pan chicken and mango stir fry. Serve with precooked brown rice for an easy, veggie-packed meal.
Or, these sheet pan chicken fajitas do all the work for you, just add to tortillas when you’re ready!
Don’t forget to switch up your carbohydrates since different foods all provide different nutrients. Eaten potatoes and rice alot recently? Opt for some gnocci with this cauliflower gnocci sheet pan recipe.
20 Minute Meal Ideas
As a mom and entrepreneur with a husband who travels for work, 20-30 minute meals are a must in our kitchen. Every once in a while, I can go for a long, drawn-out homecooked recipe that takes an hour or so.
But more often than not, I need quick recipes that taste good and provide nutrition for my family and myself. Here are some of my favorite easy and nutritious options that will meet your training needs!
Easy Meat and Seafood Meals
Tacos are a customizable recipe idea that come together quickly and are perfect for an easy weeknight meal idea.
Since shrimp cooks quickly, these cilantro lime shrimp tacos have simple ingredients, but the final product is not lacking in flavor. And these chipotle chicken tacos can be made in a slow cooker or instant pot.
If you have extra shrimp or meat on hand, you can also mix it in a power bowl style meal adding any grain and veggies you have on hand. This shrimp farro and avocado power bowl provides some yummy inspiration!
For an easy idea to use leftover chicken or to add some flavor to rotisserie chicken, consider adding them to thai peanut noodles.
This beef and broccoli bake offers a great way to replenish iron stores, as the Vitamin C from the broccoli will help with iron absorption from the beef.
Quick Pasta Recipes
As runners, we’re all familiar with the love for pasta and carbohydrates, and lucky for us, there are several ways to elevate the typical pasta dish with extra flavor and nutrients.
These easy recipes can STILL be ready in 20 minutes or less!
If you just need something good and you need it fast, this 15 minute spaghetti with egg, butter and cheese packs a ton of flavor in with minimal ingredients as well as this one pot garlic parmesean pasta.
A savory lemon garlic shrimp pasta also makes for an easy way to up the sodium before a long run.
Pasta bakes can also be great for fueling those longer runs and for multiple meals. If you’re looking for a cheesy vegetarian option, this veggie pasta bake is THE BEST. Another option is this one pan creamy mushroom pasta bake.
Other Quick Recipes
Meal prep burrito bowls can also be healthy, balanced and among the best easy recipes for marathon training. Filled with veggies, complex carbs, and powered by plant protein, this easy recipe is an athlete’s meal prep dream.
Or, add chicken to have your lunches and/or dinner done days in advance with these thai peanut chicken bowls.
Salmon and tuna patties are another great meal option for runners. These salmon potato cakes come together in less than 15 minutes and provide heart healthy, inflammation-reducing omega 3 fatty acids and protein. Add spiralized zucchini and turmeric like these zucchini salmon cakes for more nutrition power!
Simply add to bread for a simple meal or throw over rice or pasta.
Quinoa salads can be an easy 20-minute meal idea, too! Quinoa is a great pantry staple for runners because it cooks quickly and provides complex carbohydrates and all of the essential amino acids. Plus, one cup of cooked quinoa boasts 8 grams of protein.
This mango lime quinoa salad is one of my favorites for summer and warm weather, but you could add other fruits depending on what’s in season.
For another fun spin on quinoa, add some buffalo flavored chicken and blue cheese for a satisfying buffalo chicken quinoa recipe.
You can even make a quick vegan quinoa chili in less than 30 minutes.
Slow Cooker & Instant Pot Meals
Embrace the extra Vitamin C and antioxidants from pumpkin in this pumpkin chicken crockpot chili.
Or, if you like the citrus-y flavor of chicken, these lemon orange chicken breasts make for a perfect weeknight meal, paired with rice, potatoes or your choice of grain. Same with this bolder slow cooked italian chicken recipe.
This chicken, potato and green beans in the slow cooker will have your meal ready for you. Just pour the ingredients in before work and when you come home, you’ll have a tasty, complete meal!
The slow cooker makes a great mexican pulled pork meal too! Pair with storebought cornbread and some tortillas for a hands-off easy dinner.
Instant Pot meals are notorious for saving your precious time and energy, doing most of the work for you.
Or, consider this instant pot vegan chickpea bolognese spaghetti squash for extra veggies. I would recommend mixing it with regular pasta or another source of carbohydrates for more lasting energy.
If you have an air fryer, this Pistachio crusted salmon makes for a delicious 10 minute meal!
As you can see, there are several easy recipes that make marathon nutrition and healthy eating easy with a busy training schedule.
If you want more breakfast recipes, snack recipes or vegetarian recipes for athletes, this post includes 51 Healthy Recipes for Athletes that span the board for pre-workout breakfasts, post-workout smoothies and easy portable snack options.
Want To Check Out More of the Marathon Training Series?
- 5 Nutrition Tips to Help with Runners Gut
- Race Day Nutrition: What to eat pre race, during a race and post race
- The Truth on Low Carb Diets for Running
Share with me: What are your favorite, easy go to meals?
- Watson, Andrew. (2017). Sleep and Athletic Performance. Curr Sports Med Rep, 16(6):413-418.
- Saunders, Michael et al. (2015). Protein Supplementation During or Following a Marathon Run Influences Post Exercise Recovery. Nutrients; 10(3):333.
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