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tjhsu's picture
Joined: Aug 28 2008
Posts: 7
5k race nutrition

I have a 5k road race (run only) this Saturday at 8am. Any tips on what I should eat the night before and the morning of? I don't plan on eating or drinking anything during the race, but I could be persuaded.

I tried searching for prior posts on this w/o much luck.

KitKat's picture
Joined: Jan 30 2007
Posts: 737
Everyone is different, there

Everyone is different, there is no guaranteed nutrition before racing. Do what you do when you train.

For a 5k I'd probably take a gel 10 minutes before the race but that's it. I don't need H20 or additional nutrition during a 5k, but there are some that do.

hwangnyc's picture
Joined: Jun 22 2008
Posts: 87
I like a cup of joe when I

I like a cup of joe when I get up before any race and perhaps a cup of gatorade 30mins before the race. Let's not forget proper hydration occurs days before the race.

Landyachtz's picture
Joined: Jul 12 2008
Posts: 25
I never need much before a

I never need much before a 5K, just a bagel or a clif bar about an hour or two before. It won't do you much good to eat during the race, because it won't have time to hit your bloodstream. Sometimes I take water at the halfway point, but only if my mouth is dry or to pour on myself.

lala2021's picture
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 444
I am up very early in the

I am up very early in the morning race or not so b/f a 5k i usually will spin on my bike for
30min eat oatmeal or cereal. And eat a gu 15-20min b/f race . During race nothing b/c i usually
am trying to PR in other words no time to slow down.

TriSooner's picture
Joined: Dec 20 2007
Posts: 3376
Last 5k-only (corporate team

Last 5k-only (corporate team at a Komen event) I had pre-race RedBull and Jelly Beans. Awesome. I figured the caffience and sugar buzz would only last me :20 anyways.

beads1985's picture
Joined: Mar 11 2004
Posts: 6147
maybe a banana and cup of

maybe a banana and cup of coffe on my way to the race.

Socket's picture
Joined: May 25 2007
Posts: 815
Yeah... not much. A plain

Yeah... not much. A plain bagel perhaps with some water?

Is this your first 5k?

Tamara's picture
Joined: Apr 18 2005
Posts: 814
Socket raises a good point -

Socket raises a good point - is this your first race, and what are your time goals? Most folks here (I'm guessing), when they hear 5k, think about a race lasting anywhere from 15-30min. I'm a Girls on the Run coach, and my 3rd graders take anywhere from 35min to an hour. That's a very different set of guidance to give to someone. So it might help if you could qualify what this race means to you so we have some frame of reference. Point being, if this is a major new race distance for you, take it easy.

Eat non-spicy, non-greasy foods the night before -- nothing that will cause gastrointestinal problems on race morning. It's 3.1 miles, so you don't need to "carbo load", just eat a normal sized dinner. Get up early enough to eat, breakfast but also have time to digest. Coffee if you're used to it is fine and might help get things moving. A banana, glass of milk and piece of toast or bagel is a good suggestion. English muffin with a little peanut butter. A simple little bowl of oatmeal. Or, if you really are nervous and have trouble eating, Gatorade or water and an energy gel shortly before the race starts. Again, if this event is something new to you, make sure you have the energy to get through. Take advantage and walk the water stop if you feel you need to. You can probably do without it, but go by feel.

In any event, good luck!

catwood's picture
Joined: Nov 4 2004
Posts: 1050
For me, night before doesn't

For me, night before doesn't matter much - just something relatively small and easy to digest.

Morning of, I drink sports drink on the way to the race (finish it ~20 minutes before), have some water if I am still feeling dehydrated, but that's it.

I have a very sensitive stomach and I don't think I'd eat anything solid less than 5-6 hours before hand.

tjhsu's picture
Joined: Aug 28 2008
Posts: 7
hey everyone - thanks for

hey everyone - thanks for your great advice / input!

To clarify, I ran cross country in middle and high school, so I'm definitely no stranger to the race. But ... that was over 10 years ago and all my races back then were in the afternoon, or if they were morning races I had to get up way early to travel there so I had lots of time for breakfast.

I'm not a morning person so I will be waking up only an hour before this race. My goal is to run as fast as I possibly can ... 6 min miles (which sadly equates to beating my first 5K time ever back when I was 14).

I think I will eat:
-normal dinner the night before
-no breakfast except maybe sipping some gatorade
-a GU about 15-20 min before
-nothing during the race

thanks for the advice!

groovyjen's picture
Joined: Jun 11 2008
Posts: 675
I like an english muffin

I like an english muffin with peanut butter as an all around breakfast. It sticks with you.

Good luck! I have a 5K on Saturday as well.

jsk85's picture
Joined: Jan 17 2008
Posts: 1226
tjhsu wrote:6 min miles

[quote=tjhsu]6 min miles (which sadly equates to beating my first 5K time ever back when I was 14).
[/quote]

That's faster than my PR from 2 years of HS CC, lol. I bested at an 18:48...that would put you around 18:36 if my math is correct. Pretty solid for 10 years off

sbrstlouis's picture
Joined: Sep 23 2008
Posts: 87
I would stick with

I would stick with easily-digestible foods.... no meat, dairy, nuts, etc.

You want your blood focused in your leg muscles, not in your stomach. Race on an empty stomach....

Matt Cazalas
Technical Writer
Network Cables

Gsal's picture
Joined: Sep 20 2008
Posts: 366
You really do not need that

You really do not need that much food at all before a race. I'll wake up around 4 hours before my race and maybe have a bagel and that's it. With 5k's, the distance is so short that the body never has to even tap into it's fat burning system, so definitely do not take anything during the race. Some complex carbs a few hours before is usually the best strategy. (My 5k p.r. is 15.53)

cuds's picture
Joined: Mar 30 2008
Posts: 145
People eat/drink during

People eat/drink during 5k's? CRAZY!

brittda's picture
Joined: Jan 25 2005
Posts: 2458
cuds wrote:People eat/drink

[quote=cuds]People eat/drink during 5k's? CRAZY![/quote]

AHAHHAHAH. Those of us who do marathons would think that huh?

cuds's picture
Joined: Mar 30 2008
Posts: 145
hah... well even as a

hah... well even as a dedicated 5km/10km runner when I was a kid, I would laugh that there were aid stations on the courses (especially when people were amazed that this "little kid" could keep going without taking anything lol).

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