Race day food for runners guide
It’s not every day you run a race, so it’s worth taking the time to prepare yourself for the event. What you eat in the morning can stand you in good stead and improve your time and finishing position. Here’s our race day food for runners guide.
Unfortunately, races tend to be early in the morning, which means you’ll probably be a bit out of sync on race day unless you get up early every morning. It’s not a bad idea to get up a few times as soon as you would on race day just before anyway, to get some practice in.
In our race day food for runners guide, we show you how to prepare what to eat and a few other suggestions for race day.
It’s all about timing
You might need to eat at 6 am to give yourself enough time to digest the food in time for an 8 am race. By giving yourself at least
an hour or so before the race, and making sure your breakfast has gone down, you’ll ensure you are in a fit state to run.
If you are still full when you run, you may get a stitch. You could also be bloated and risk being sick, not only because you ate too much but through the excitement of competing.
Drink plenty of fluids
You should also have plenty of fluids beforehand, but be careful; don’t become bloated. Don’t forget you may be running a long distance and you might need a toilet break as you go round as well.
One of my worst experiences running was during my half marathon in Cordoba. It was cold, rainy morning, and about half way round I was desperate for a wee. The trouble was it was so cold out, and what with the blood being in most of my other parts of the body, you can imagine the pain of weeing in the cold.
Drink water slowly throughout the race. Coffee isn’t a bad idea as it could give you that extra boost as well, especially if it’s very early in the morning. You could also try sports drinks as well, to provide you with extra hydration. Avoid alcohol the night before as well, save that for the celebration afterwards.
It’s essential to get a hearty breakfast before you run, but steer clear of those fry-ups and bacon sandwiches. You don’t want too much fat in your system when you’re running, so light carbs, like cereals, wholemeal bread, and even rice, are excellent sources of protein.
Lean meats that are easy to digest are a great option. And don’t forget to have a banana about half an hour before you set off, as they are easy to digest and will provide you with an extra spurt of energy.
Have stuff ready the night before, so it’s all in the fridge. Maybe you could do the rice the evening before and just heat it in the morning. Milk is another good option as it has protein and is easy to digest.
As soon as you finish the race, you’ll need to stock up on fluids and food too. Don’t be tempted by beer for at least an hour or so, mainly if you’ve run far and have lost a lot of fluids. Often after the race, you’ll be starving, and you don’t want to do any damage, so take it easy and try eating small portions.
So, to ensure maximum performance on race day, what you eat on the day is just as important as your training. Get your diet planned, have small portions of carbs and proteins, and keep your fluids up at all times. Best of luck.
That’s our race day food for runners guide, what do you like to eat on the day? What’s your race day food routine? Leave us a comment or send us a Tweet. Why not also check out ‘5 energy foods that improve your running‘ while you’re here?