The Pre-Race Snack

Posted on 20/06/2019

About the author: Leanda du Bruyn is the pretty face and pretty fast lady working part-time at the Edward Street RUN. She’s got a creative flair that is expressed through her love for fashion and design… as well apparently in the kitchen, with some funky pre-race snacks to fuel you fast! 

Feature Image: Randall Crisp (@twodeadpixels)

GU for it!

My name is Leanda du Bruyn, I am a student athlete currently busy with my final year in fashion design at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I started working at RUN at the end of 2018 and so far working there has been a learning curve and blessing.

My main focus is track and cross country but I recently discovered a new love for the trails. I started running at the age of 10 and my love for the sport has grown more and more ever since. After school I received an athletic scholarship to study graphic design in California from August 2016 until May 2018. Over these two years I gained so much running experience and learnt a lot.  When I returned from California last year, I entered straight into our cross country season, which, was one of my best seasons so far. I won the Western Province Senior 10km race and placed 10th at the South African championships. I also did my first technical trail race, the 12km Peace trail which I won, much to my surprise.

I am extremely thankful to be sponsored by Altra South Africa as one of their elite runners this year. My 2019 track season has also been one of my best seasons yet. I qualified for three different events (1500m, 3000m steeplechase and 5000m) at the Western Province Championships to compete at the South African Senior Championships. I also ran personal bests in all three events during the season and came third at the South African Student Championships in the 1500m and second in the 5000m. I qualified to go to the Student World Championships in Italy this year but unfortunately didn’t make the final team and was selected as a non-traveling reserve. This was one of my biggest goals and not being able to go was quite disappointing but that is all part of life. We all go through those ups and downs.

My Personal Bests are:

  • 1500m: 4:25
  • 3000m steeplechase: 11:00
  • 5000m: 16:40

The cross country season has just begun and I look forward to defending my title at the Western Province Championships and improving my position at the South African Championships.

Race Strategy and Nutrition

As a runner, everyone has their own pre-race rituals and nutrition preferences. I am a huge banana lover and so banana bread is one of my weaknesses. Due to having a problem with gluten it isn’t always easy finding something that I can eat, especially a good banana bread, however it does force you to be more creative. Thanks to Future Life being gluten-free I started baking almost everything with it. Banana bread became a firm favourite after this, and I have altered a recipe I got from a friend to suit my race day needs. Instead of banana bread I rather made banana bread muffins because it makes a better pre-race snack. This became a ritual because it is so easy to make and bakes so quickly, I can even whip up a batch at 10pm the night before a big race (this is also a good distraction for pre-race day nerves). One thing I’ve added to give me an extra boost of energy are the GU Energy Gel sachets and thanks to the wide variety I can spice things up with different flavours and combinations!

On race day and if I race in the afternoon I would typically have breakfast (oats with peanut butter or a banana coffee smoothie – yes also with peanut butter!). I also always make sure I have had a decent meal the night before. I like to have something like chicken breyani, it’s a good mix of carbohydrates and protein and is always a winner. I don’t like to have a big meal before my races so I would rather have one or two GU banana muffins and because I don’t race very long distances, I don’t need much more than that. It gives me more than enough energy to push hard. If I have more than one race on the same day I often have a muffin in between as well.

Heres my recipe for my GU Banana Muffins! Hope you enjoy!


Makes 12 muffins.

  • 1 ½  cups Future Life
  • ½ cups fine coconut
  • 1 apple squishy
  • 3 large ripe mashed bananas
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 GU Energy Gels of your preference
  • *1-2 tbsp peanut butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line/grease a muffin tin
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
  3. Bake for 22 min

*Note: The recipe is very adjustable and you can add raisins, nuts, coconut flakes, different spices or even chocolate chips

These are some of the GU Energy Gel flavours I have used in the muffins:

  • GU Chocolate Outrage
  • GU Salted Caramel
  • GU Strawberry Banana
  • GU Lemon Sublime
  • GU Tri-Berry
  • GU Jet Blackberry

Don’t be scared to mix and match, I have tried various combinations like Lemon Sumblime and Jet Blackberry, and Strawberry Banana and Chocolate Outrage.

Leanda’s race-day kit list includes:

We here at RUN are all about community so let us know what your pre-race and race day nutrition strategies are in the comments below!

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