What To Eat Before You Race

Whether you are running a 5K fun run or a marathon, we’ve got nutrition tips that will help you optimize your run.


The Twin Cities organizes races for runners at all levels of ability, from the casual runner to the competitive athlete. Healthy nutrition is one component of a smart training program that will support your performance and help you do your best. We’ve got some tips to help you eat smart before you run.

  • Timing. Plan to eat a big meal three to four hours before your run. Eat a small meal one to two hours before the starting gun goes off. If you feel hungry, have a snack about 30 minutes before you run.
  • What to eat. Although you need a little protein, carbohydrates like high-fiber bread, crackers, rice, pasta, and fruit should be the star of your pre-race meal. They will help you prevent sluggishness and fatigue. Recommended proteins include broccoli, fish, chicken or turkey, low-fat dairy, or beans. And don’t forget sources of healthy fat, like peanut butter, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
  • Hydrate. When you run, you need water before, during, and after a race. Four hours before you run, drink about 20 ounces of water (the size of a large coffee at your favorite coffee shop). While you are running, drink in response to thirst to avoid dehydration.
  • What to avoid. Don’t suddenly change your diet within 24 hours of the race or eat something new. Avoid high-fat and high-fiber foods, large amounts of protein, and sugary foods during the day leading up to the race.

Having a healthy plan for pre-race nutrition ensures that your body will have the fuel it needs during your run, and that you will perform at your best.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise

From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.

Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNVadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.

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