In honor of the Fit Foodie 5K this Saturday, what better way to prepare than … to talk about food? Have you ever wondered what’s best to eat before a race? We’ve rounded up some tips to keep you nourished and energized for the next time you lace up your running shoes!
The day of the race: The most important thing to do before you head out for your race is to ensure that you mimic what you have done for your training. What have you eaten before you went out for your training runs over the weekends? Eat that before the big day. Don’t risk trying something new and have it backfire on you!
The size of your pre-race meal should be proportional to the distance you will be running–a longer distance requires more energy. Some typical breakfast choices include a banana, oatmeal, an energy bar (find one high in carbohydrates and low in protein, fiber, and fat), toast or a bagel with peanut butter and/or honey, combined with water, coffee, or an energy drink. It is best to eat 2-4 hours prior to race start to give your body the time to absorb the nutrients without encountering bathroom issues.
The week of the race: The week of the race, focus on eating lean protein found in chicken and fish. If you want to carbo-load, it is recommended to do so two days prior to the race, rather than the traditional night before. Your body still receives the benefits of the carbohydrates, without the risk of feeling too full or bloated come race morning. Reminder–carboloading is not an excuse to eat unhealthy or fatty foods! Avoid creamy sauces, butter, cheese, oil, and the like. Stick to vegetables, pasta, rice, breads, and other carbohydrates–focus on fresh food.
The most important takeaway here is to find what works for you. What your friend eats or what your neighbor eats prior to a race may not bode well for your body. Each of our bodies are unique, and similarly, requires unique energy, so explore what your body needs.
Happy eating (and running!) and hope to see you out at the Fit Foodie 5K!
Tell us: what do you eat prior to a race?