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You’ve committed to a 5K, 10K, half marathon or possibly even a marathon. Go YOU! But, there’s more to nailing your race than just running a lot. Knowing what to eat is a big part of getting across the finish line.
Our Nutrition Strategist and Brand Influencer—Yvette Waters MS, RDN, CISSN—has developed helpful nutrition tips for runners. Learn how to prepare for a race with nutrition ideas for training. Find out how to stay fueled during your run. And discover best practices for post-race recovery.
Focus on consuming fruits and vegetables. Increase your total carbohydrate intake by slowly adding in more pasta and other starchy foods.
This should be your last big meal, giving your body ample time to digest anything you eat so you won’t feel bloated on the big day.
Eat balanced meals and make sure you hydrate with electrolytes throughout the day. Avoid foods that might slow your digestion or make you gassy, like these:
Start eating small meals every 2-3 hours, but cut out fatty red meat, fried foods, dairy products, oils and nuts. Focus on consuming light, digestible foods like small sandwiches with soup or energy bars. Keep drinking water and electrolyte beverages and avoid salty and high fiber foods.
For dinner the night before a race, carb load! This is the one situation in which eating lots of carbs is recommended, so enjoy it! Also look for meals that are moderate in protein and low in fat and dietary fiber like these options:
Don’t experiment with new foods on race day! Sip—don’t chug—water with some electrolytes. Eat a small breakfast. Focus on low in fiber, easy-to-digest carbohydrates. Here are some ideas:
Have a snack made up of easy-to-digest carbs and something low in fiber, fat and protein, like one of these:
If your run is less than an hour, stick to water. For longer runs, stay fueled by taking in 30-60 grams of carbs per hour in the form of food, sports gels or sports drinks like these:
After all that training, hard work and preparation, you did the thing! But that doesn’t mean you should head straight to the bar to celebrate. Instead, rehydrate with water, 100% fruit juice, milk or a milk alternative. Consume a protein-rich snack within 30-60 minutes of completing your run like the suggestions below, to kickstart your recovery:
And eat a full meal that contains high-quality carbs plus protein to repair your muscles and replenish their glycogen stores 3-4 hours after your run.
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