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How to Eat before a 5K Race

What you eat and drink before running a 5K race can affect the health benefits of running -- as well as determine how you feel during your run. Get the most out of your race with the right diet.


  • Step 1: Keep hydrated Keep yourself hydrated for 24 hours before the race. Fluid replacement drinks are better than water because they aid in electrolyte balance.
  • TIP: Monitor your fluid intake. Excessive fluid consumption can throw off your electrolyte balance.
  • Step 2: Avoid fat and fiber Avoid high fat and high fiber meals that are slow to empty from your stomach in the 24 hours before the race. Simple carbohydrates and proteins, such as pasta and fish, are popular with endurance athletes.
  • TIP: Finish your last big meal at least 12 hours before you run the race so you has time to digest.
  • Step 3: Decide on breakfast Determine whether your body will perform better with a solid or a liquid breakfast. Many runners prefer a liquid breakfast on race day because the calories are more easily digested, and the liquid helps with hydration. If you eat solid food, make it low calorie and low fiber, and be sure to finish eating at least two hours before start time.
  • Step 4: Stay hydrated Drink watered-down sports drinks right up to race time to stay hydrated. Dehydration may be the most important issue that could negatively impact your time.
  • FACT: Running burns more calories per minute than any form of cardio-respiratory activity except for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

You Will Need

  • Fluid replacement drinks
  • Simple carbohydrates and proteins
  • Low-fat and low-fiber breakfast
  • Watered down sports drinks
  • High-protein
  • high-carbohydrate meal

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