Run Happy Springtime Smoothie

March 31, 2015

March is National Nutrition Month. As we say farewell to March today and usher in the rest of spring, I thought it was the perfect time to share some important nutrition reminders for endurance athletes {and a smoothie concoction I’m loving right now}.

Earlier this month, I had a chance to catch up with my friend Kyle Pfaffenbach, a performance nutrition consultant for the Brooks Beasts Track Club and also an associate professor in the Department of Physical Activity and Health at Eastern Oregon University. Kyle and I met in 2013 at a Brooks Running event in New York City. His advice has helped me completely transform my race week/race day nutrition strategy. Since meeting Kyle and following his guidance, I’ve successfully conquered personal best race times across all distances. I’m so grateful for his advice and support.

He had a chance to share some reminders with me on a recent Google Hangout with the Brooks running crew. Here were some of the key points he shared:

  • To be the best athlete you can be, just eating right on the day of a race or hard workout isn’t going to cut it to maximize performance. Take your everyday nutrition as seriously as you would a speed workout or long run.
  • There is not a single answer to the “right” dietary approach for runners. It is a very individualized choice.
  • Before a key workout, eat carbs one to two hours before. This will give your body the idea that it has energy and can give you a good effort because it is going to get key nutrients.
  • On race day, eat a mixed meal of carbs and protein 3 to 4 hours before the race. 30 to 60 minutes before the race, consume some simple carbs, such as a GU, Clif Shot Bloks, etc. Exercise facilitates the removal of glucose from our blood. When you take this little bit of carbs/sugar prior to the race, doing a light warm-up immediately afterward will prevent an insulin spike.
  • Before a race, don’t eat things with heavy protein, fat or fiber. When you eat, you get a lot of blood flow to your stomach. You want blood to go to your muscles when you’re running. If you eat foods that are too heavy, having your blood flow compete between going to your stomach or muscles is not a good mix. The go-to for race effort is carbohydrates.
  • There is a hierarchy in which foods make us feel full: Protein makes us feel the fullest. Fats are the worst food for making us feel full. Fats have the highest calories, yet we can eat the most of it in one sitting and fill up the least. A great breakfast is a piece of whole grain toast with a scrambled egg and avocado.
  • To get an idea if you’re eating enough food, track when you’re eating and when you’re hungry (including around your workouts). You will start to see patterns. Check out these nutritional tools for more help: Gatorade Sports Science Institute Sports Nutrition Toolbox and the USDA’s SuperTracker.
  • Smoothies for runners are a great way to consume a lot of healthy food all at once, and liquid sources are better than solids at getting nutrients from food into our systems as quickly as possible. For a great post-workout smoothie, strive for a 3-4:1 ratio of carbs to protein (e.g. 40 grams of carbs and 10 grams of protein). A recovery drink should be designed to jumpstart the recovery process, not replace calories. Simple carbs and protein are great for this.

Speaking of smoothies, now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been making a lot of smoothies after my morning workouts. One of my regular go-to smoothies is this chocolate banana protein smoothie.

To avoid a post-workout re-fueling rut of constantly eating the same thing, I decided to experiment with some fruit that reminded me of warmer weather. Here’s my latest springtime smoothie for runners that’s perfect after any workout.

Smoothies for Runners


  • The juice from one large orange
  • 6 ounces of plain Greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage.)
  • One frozen banana
  • One tablespoon of ground flaxseed (I used Bob’s Red Mill.)
  • One scoop of vanilla protein powder (I used Jay Robb.)
  • One pineapple spear


Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth. I used the Nutri Ninja and blended/pulsed for about 30 seconds. Serve with a slice of toast or bagel to get your additional carbs.

Smoothies for runners

Nutrition Information

Calories: 445, Fat: 2.1 grams. Carbs: 60.5 grams, Sugar: 38 grams, Protein: 46.9 grams, Fiber: 8.1 grams

To read more nutrition advice from Kyle and other nutrition advice for runners, don’t miss these posts:
Everything You Need to Know about Nutrition for Runners
10 Best Foods for Runners
Nutrition for Runners 101

I am a Brooks Running Run Happy Ambassador and receive free products to test each month as well as an annual financial stipend I reinvest back into, continuing education and running. This month, the Brooks team challenged me to make and share a smoothie recipe for runners.

What’s in your favorite post-workout smoothies for runners? What additional nutrition advice would you share in honor of National Nutrition Month?


Karen @karenlovestorun

Yumm! I love post workout smoothies. I’ve been a big fan of green smoothies lately. Also anything with tropical fruit like pineapple or mango!
Karen @karenlovestorun


I love mango and pineapple Karen. I haven’t experimented with spinach or kale in my smoothies yet. If you have a recipe or mix you love, send it my way! xo


Pineapples are one of my favorite fruits in smoothies! I just happened to make an orange smoothie after my 7 mile run this morning. In the blender I put a sliced orange, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, a little molasses and a dash of honey. I drank it on my cool down walk with my dog.


Yum! That sounds delicious Tina!!! Thanks for sharing! Hope your run was great! xo

Runners Connect

Great power packed smoothie Jesica. This is exactly the kind of breakfast runners should be enjoying to start their day right, especially as the temperature rises. Thanks for sharing!

Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

Yum! My favorite smoothie is blueberries, bananas, and spinach with some yogurt. I haven’t made it in a while but now I’m craving a fresh smoothie!


Sounds delish Laura! I made one this morning with blueberries and bananas. I still need to get brave enough to add spinach … not sure why I think that will make it taste funny. xoxo


Looks delicious. Funny because I don’t have much in my fridge right now but I do have all of those items! Thanks for posting the recipe.