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What to eat before a race: Sweet potato pizza

Athlete and nutrition expert Rose Marie Jarry knows how to cook up great results on race day. This is her perfect pre-competition meal for the big occasion.

By Rose Marie Jarry

Your pre-competition meal should be light, easy to digest and super nutritious. Maximize the chances of a personal best by powering up with the best vegetables you can find. Junk food before a race will lead to only one thing: junk performance.


Combining various fruits and veggies will provide you with complex carbohydrates necessary to give you long-lasting energy, since we should eat three to four hours before the event. What’s more, vegetable protein is easy to digest will leave you well nourished.

We are looking for complete digestion before the event starts, since the body will want the nutrients available as fuel to hit top performance.


Eating too much slow-digesting food could increase the risk of cramps and nausea, eating too little risks running out of power during the event. We have to strike the right balance. 


These homemade sweet potato pizzas make for a tasty pre-run meal with a difference. They’re also vegan and completely gluten free.

Ingredients (serves one)

(I recommend using organic produce wherever possible).


Pizza base
1 large sweet potato 
2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
Himalayan pink salt
Herbes de Provence

¼ cup (85g) of raw sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon of “liquid smoke” flavoring (optional)
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of gluten-free soya sauce
¼ cup (85g tomato sauce)
1 small onion finely sliced into rings
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup (85g) of vegan cheese
¼ cup (85g) of sliced olives
Handul of fresh basil leaves

Side salad
 - 1 bell pepper, color of your choice
 - ½ cucumber
 - Olive oil and balsamic vinegar as dressing


1. Preheat your oven to 400 °F (200°C)
2. Wash the Sweet potato and cut it into thin slices about 5mm thick
3. Oil three to four potatoes slices on both sides and sprinkle them with the salt and fine herbs.
4. Place the potato slices on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and cook them in the oven for 5. 15 minutes. Please use medium heat; you don’t want to burn them!
6. Cut the bell pepper and the cucumber into small slices while the potatoes are cooking.
7. Mince the garlic and onion, then set aside
8. Thoroughly blend the sunflower seeds, soya sauce, paprika and liquid smoke flavoring (if you’re using it) into a mixture that’s thick but spreadable.
9. When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and garnish as follows: 
Apply the tomato sauce, then the garlic and onion.  Then spread on the sunflower mix. Top with the olives and the vegan cheese.
10. Warm up the oven to 500°F (260°C)
11. Put the pizzas back in the oven for four minutes!
12. Serve with the side salad!

Enjoy slowly as you visualize achieve your goals in the upcoming event. Good luck!


Rose Marie Jarry was the fastest 800m runner in Quebec for many years. When injury curbed her track ambitions in 2009, she found a new calling in Spartan adventure races, competing in over 70 of the competitions, and ranking No.1 globally. At the same time, a love of healthy food led to her found Kronobar, which today produces over 200,000 bars a year. Rose Marie is now returning to the track with her sights set the podium for the 800m at the World Master’s Championship in Toronto in 2020. Underpinning Rose Marie’s training is deep understanding of how the right nutrients can help unlock peak performance.

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