Nutrition Tips

What time should I eat?

The ideal time to eat a pre-race meal is about 3 -4 hours before race time. This is early enough to digest and store large amounts of energy, yet late enough that this energy won’t be used by race time. A full meal can be eaten this far ahead of race time. The closer to race time, the smaller the meal should be.

What Should I Eat Before a Race?

Tortillas, oatmeal, bread, pancakes, waffles, bagels, yogurt, and juice are all easy-todigest options. Many fruits are high in carbs but are also high in fiber – and too much can cause stomach trouble mid-race. You can peel apples, peaches, and pears to reduce their fiber content. Wiite bread and baked potatoes without the skin are both easily digested. Steer clear of high fat foods, like creamy sauces, cheese, butter, and oils – as well as too much protein. Both nutrients fill you up faster than carbs and take longer to digest. Pick jam – not butter – for your toast, tomato sauce – not alfredo sauce – for your pasta, and frozen yogurt – not ice cream – for dessert. You cannot completely fill your muscles with glycogen from just one meal, which is why you need to start carboloading two or three days before your race. You aren’t necessarily eating more calories, it’s just that more of the calories are coming from carbohydrates.

THE NIGHT BEFORE: Dinner should be relatively small but carb-heavy. Eat on the early side so you have lots of time to digest. You want to wake up hungry on race day.

RACE MORNING: Several hours before the start of the race, eat something like a bagel and yogurt, a sports drink, banana and oatmeal, peanut butter toast…. Don’t try new food choices on race day, stick with what is familiar to you.

Nutrition Tips from Olympic and World Famous Marathoners

  • Wesley Korir from Louisville. KY (Winner of the 2012 Boston Marathon)
    Pre-Race Ritual: I always eat a six-inch Subway tuna sandwich and give another one to a homeless person.
  • Kara Goucher (11th jn 2012 Summer Olympic Marathon – 2:26:07)
    Night Before: Simple white foods – rolls, rice, chicken and grilled vegetables Race Morning: Banana, instant apple cinnamon oatmeal
  • Alissa McKaiq (8th in Olympic Marathon Trials)
    Night Before: Spaghetti, broccoli, chicken, potatoes
    Race Morning: Dry cereal, a banana and peanut butter
  • Ryan Hall (Set the American World Record for the Marathon – 2:04:58)
    Night Before: Brown-rice pasta with olive oil and muscle milk Race Morning: Protein shake with a 3:1 carb-to-protein ratio
  • Shalane Flanagan (10th in 2012 Summer Olympic Marathon – 2:25:51)
    The night before: eat chicken, a sweet potato and bread – really simple.
    After a race my go to meal is a burger and fries.