Outsiders of the Year

Here's What Ultrarunner Mike Wardian Eats to Win

You could call it a spider-man meal plan

Wardian right before running the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim trail at night. (Photo: Courtesy Brian Metzler/Michael Wardian)
Wardian right before running the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim trail at night.

In the world of competitive running, Mike Wardian, 43, is known for piling up records. Some of them are playful: he’s clocked the fastest times dressed as Elvis and Spider-Man. Others are more remarkable: in August, Wardian ran the Leadville ultra and the Pikes Peak marathon back-to-back, breaking the combo’s FKT by almost five hours. The food in Wardian’s pantry is a similar mix of serious and surprising. He’s been vegetarian for 20 years, and he eats a lot. “Our family’s food budget is exorbitant,” he says. Here’s what he always keeps stocked.

Gerber Baby Food ($10 for eight)

(Photo: Courtesy Gerber)

“I eat tons of Gerber baby food. My favorite is bananas with apples and pears. Sometimes I’ll stir one into my oatmeal in the morning, or I’ll put a few in my drop bag to eat during a 100-mile race instead of gels.”


Flintstones Vitamins ($13)

(Photo: Courtesy Bayer)

“I’ve always taken Flintstones vitamins and just never switched to an adult alternative. Ever since I was a kid, they’ve reminded me of the start of the day. I like the taste of all of them, but purple is probably my favorite.”


Sound Probiotics ($30)

(Photo: Courtesy Sound Probiotics)

“I don’t eat dairy, so that obviously means no yogurt. But I want to make sure I keep everything on track in my gut, so I started taking Sound Probiotics. They’re specifically formulated for high-performance athletes.”



“Pickles provide plenty of salt to replace what I’m losing through sweat. I eat them after runs to help me replenish, and sometimes I’ll snack on them during 100-milers. I probably have them three times a week, usually on a plain bagel with scrambled eggs. It’s the perfect balance of salt, carbohydrates, and protein.”


“We keep lots of different kinds of mustard on hand. Dijon and stone-ground are two of my favorites. They add a good hit of heat to just about anything. I like to put some in my post-long-run meals to counter all the intense sweet stuff I eat during those big efforts.” 

Michele’s Granola ($7)

(Photo: Courtesy Michele's)

“Our shelves are lined with cereals like Kix and Rice Krispies. For something extra fancy that’s chock-full of good-for-you ingredients, I love the cinnamon-raisin flavor of Michele’s Granola. I hate going to bed hungry, so I’ll mix the Rice Krispies and granola with almond milk as a snack after dinner.”


Whole Foods Raw Honey ($7)

(Photo: Courtesy Whole Foods)

“I’m way into honey. My favorite packaged brand right now is Whole Foods raw. But often I’ll just eat it straight from the honeycomb with bread. When I need something a little more portable and less messy—before races or in my drop bag—I turn to almond butter, banana, and honey on an English muffin.”


From Outside Magazine, December 2017
Filed To: AthletesFamilyMarathonRunningFood and Drink
Lead Photo: Courtesy Brian Metzler/Michael Wardian

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