5k race nutrition

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of cuds cuds 8 years, 4 months ago.

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    Profile photo of tjhsu

    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.

    Profile photo of KitKat

    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.

    Profile photo of hwangnyc

    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.

    Profile photo of Landyachtz

    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.

    Profile photo of lala2021

    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.

    Profile photo of TriSooner

    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.

    Profile photo of beads1985

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

    Profile photo of Socket

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

    Is this your first 5k?

    Profile photo of Tamara

    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!

    Profile photo of catwood

    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.

    Profile photo of tjhsu

    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!

    Profile photo of groovyjen

    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.

    Profile photo of jsk85
    tjhsu wrote:
    6 min miles (which sadly equates to beating my first 5K time ever back when I was 14).

    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

    Profile photo of sbrstlouis

    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

    Profile photo of Gsal

    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)

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