Fueling the Day Before and Day of the Race


Fueling the day before and day of the race

For races greater than an hour, like a marathon, starting carb loading about 3 days before the race, as you taper off on your running, can be helpful. Carb loading allows you to increase the amount of glycogen stored in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is stored glucose and provides quick energy for the run. Running low on glucose during the race leads to decreased performance and inability to complete the race. Ideally, you have tried various foods and sports products during training, to know what works well for you.

The day before the race, load up on easily digested carbs

Meals should be high carb, lower in fiber, and low fat, with some lean protein for repairing muscle damage.

The last meal of the day before should be low in fructose, to avoid stomach upset or diarrhea. Burgers, fries, and pizza are not recommended!

Baked potato with fat free Greek yogurt and salsa.

Sub sandwich on French bread with turkey, mustard, or a little light mayo, and reduced fat cheese.

White pasta with small amount olive oil, parmesan, and a little basil or oregano

White rice with chicken breast or beef loin, and a little soy sauce

Pretzels, oyster crackers

Cream of wheat with brown sugar

Toast or bagels with honey

Milk (if you’re not lactose intolerant).


3-4 hours before the race, low fiber, low fat, easily digestible

Pretzels, oyster crackers, English muffins, toast with honey. Bagels; limit/avoid cream cheese and jelly; could use honey.

Water. Don’t overhydrate or underhydrate

Avoid juices and fruit, or anything with corn syrup. (at this point, fructose may lead to diarrhea).

During the race

Hydration: water and sports drinks.

 Sports drinks help replace electrolytes lost in sweat and also provide a source of glucose for continued energy.

Sports beans, gels, and chews. They provide electrolytes, and a more concentrated source of carb than sports drinks, to maintain a normal blood sugar after your stored glycogen is depleted.

You can include some easily digested carbohydrate foods during your run, such as pretzels or oyster crackers, if you like and you tolerate them. Try this out during training, before an event, to be sure you will tolerate without digestive upset. Your body may just need time to adjust to this type of fuel during the run.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Follow ciLiving on Social Media

Facebook Social IconTwitter Social IconInstagram Social IconPintrest Social Icon