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

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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)

(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)

(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)

(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)

(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)

(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 Lead Photo: Courtesy Brian Metzler/Michael Wardian

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