What to eat before a race

What to eat before a race

Modifying what you eat  a few days before race day can give you an running edge over your competitors.   There is no super foods that will make you run faster, expand your lung capacity or make your legs fly thru the course, but you can all eat smarter and prepare your body so it is in prime condition for the big race.   It’s easier to break down the eating process into 3 categories – 1-2 weeks before the race, a day before the race and race morning eating.  The amount of preparing and eating also depends on the mileage of the race.

1-2 weeks before the race (usually for longer runs ie 18 miles or more)

  • Do some carbo loading and eating pasta, potatoes, and bread.
  • Do not overeat.  Balance in eating and running is important before race day.
  • As your reduce the mileage you’re running, reduce the amount of calorie intake as well.   ie.  This means if you run 1 mile less, you should eat 100 calories less.

1 day before the race

  • Eat foods that you know agree with your stomach.  It’s not the time to try out the new Ethiopian restaurant that opened up around the corner.
  • Eat carbs – load up on pasta, potatoes and bread.  Do not overeat.  Balance your eating with your running.  As stated above, reduce 100 calories for every mile you decrease.
  • Drink more water, gatorade, and fruit juices.
  • Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and any carbonated drinks – coke.
  • Avoid high fiber foods or dairy products which might cause you discomfort during your run such as milk, yogurt, beans, lettuce, and broccoli.

Race Morning

  • If your race starts at 7 am, you’re probably up by 5 am, tired and grumpy.  Try your best to skip the coffee or any caffeinated drinks.
  • If this is a long run, it’s advised to probably eat 8-16 calories of food 2-4 hours before a run.  Eat a bagel or some bread.
  • Drink some fluids about an hour before the race.

This will give your body time to digest everything.  Just remember to use the washrooms at the start area before the race.  More to come – article for what to eat during the race and how to eat for post race recovery.

Related Running Tips:

  1. What to eat for post race recovery
  2. What to eat during a race
  3. Pre-Race Checklist
  4. Running for weight loss
  5. What to expect at your first race
  6. How to run a perfect race
  7. Nutrition for Female Vegetarian Runners



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