Race Day Fueling

Eating before a race can be difficult, especially if you are nervous and have to wake up early. Learning about what to eat is just as important as all of your training. The following information will guide you on what to eat before, during and after your race to help you perform at your best!

Pre-race Meals/Snacks

Timing of your pre-competition meal or snack is important. If you only have an hour before you compete, make sure you eat low fiber, low fat foods to prevent an upset stomach. If you have more than an hour, you can eat a smaller meal containing carbs and protein to give your body the fuel it needs to compete.

Time before race Food and Fluid Guidelines
Less than 1 hour Drink 8 ounces of fluids and eat a high carb, low fiber, low fat snack
  • Sports Drink
  • Energy gel or Clif Shot Blocks
  • Graham crackers or granola bar
  • ½ Plain bagel
  • Pretzels
  • Banana
2 - 3 hours Drink 12 ounces of fluids and eat a snack or small meal with carbs and protein
  • ½ peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Bagel with peanut butter or light cheese
  • Trail mix (nuts and dried fruit)
  • Yogurt with crackers
  • Small bowl of cereal
  • Smoothie made with fruit and yogurt
  • Fruit mixed with yogurt and low fat granola
  • Sports bar
  • Fruit with handful of nuts
More than 3 hours Eat a meal with a large amount of carbs and a small amount lean protein
  • Oatmeal with brown sugar, nuts, milk and fruit
  • Wrap with turkey or chicken and fruit
  • Eggs with lean sausage or turkey bacon and toast
  • Light string cheese, whole grain crackers, fruit, and milk

Smart Snacking Before and/or During Races

You can burn up to 30-60 grams of carbohydrate during every hour of intense exercise. If your race lasts longer than an hour, you need to eat foods or drink fluids containing carbs every 45 minutes to an hour to keep up your energy.

Examples of 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (low fiber, low fat)

Eating for Recovery

Eating a snack/meal containing carbs and protein within 30 minutes after your race can help repair your muscles, restore hydration and give you the energy to be able to compete in the future.

Recovery Food Ideas