Race Day Fuel

Last year I ran a lot of races, and suffered from a lost of post-race GI issues. I’ve tried different approaches to pre-race eating, race day fuel, and post-race food, and finally am figuring out what works–thank goodness, because I was on the verge of giving up racing!

Before: Most of my races are 10 miles or less, so I don’t really need to do any “carb loading.” Still, I don’t want to be hungry on race day, and find it hard to pass up an excuse to eat whatever I want. I was struck by a post that Carrie wrote about pre-race eating, where she discussed cutting back on fiber and other foods that might tax your digestive system. While it might seem obvious, I never had considered that my pre-race eating could be contributing to my post-race GI issues. I was more careful with my food choices in the days leading up t0 the Army 10 Miler and had my best post-race day all year! Now, I try to cut back on fiber, eat more simple carbs than usual, and avoid heavy foods.

Race-Day: My go-to race day breakfast has become a Kashi® waffle drizzled with syrup and topped with sliced banana.

Pre-Race Breakfast

If I’m feeling hungry or need to leave the house early, I will bring a crunchy peanut butter granola bar to eat closer to race time.

Post-Race: When I am afraid of post-race GI issues, the last thing I want to do is eat, but I have found that if I eat the right thing soon after I finish, my stomach is more settled the rest of the day. It also seems that eating small snacks every few hours helps keep my stomach from revolting.

My favorite thing to have right after a race is a soft, chewy bagel.

Post Race Bagel

(My GW Parkway Classic bagel–I couldn’t wait!)

At this year’s GW Parkway Classic, they had bagels and bananas, and also gave out these:


The label says that the foods provide the right balance of nutrients to aid recovery.

I didn’t investigate the box until after I had eaten the rest of my bagel in an open-faced egg and cheese sandwich, so you will understand why I tried the square of Belgian dark chocolate first. 🙂

A few hours later I snacked on the cheese and crackers–they really hit the spot. Once I was confident that my stomach was not going to revolt, I had another snack.

By then I knew I was in the clear, and could enjoy a normal dinner.

Do you have set foods that you eat before a race?

Is your stomach finicky on race day?

This entry was posted in Fitness, Food and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Race Day Fuel

  1. My go-to pre-race is PB and bananan on a plain brown rice cake. It works. I won't change it LOL.

  2. jessielovestorun says:

    I would always consume a slice of bread with 1 tbsp. peanut butter before any race. Never had problems.

  3. Steena says:

    I used to be extremely ritual about what I eat before racing.. I've gotten sloppy, sometimes I have problems, sometimes I don't. You'd think by now I'd be more concerned!

  4. Elle says:

    I ate a bagel with pb and banana before I ran my half last Spring – worked well.

  5. Carrie says:

    I'm glad that my post was helpful. I haven't ever had GI issues with a race, I'm so thankful for that.

  6. I’ve never seen a block of cheese in a runner recovery box before. I haven’t found anything yet that hasn’t really worked for me. I’m still experimenting though!
    Meranda@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Food and Drink for Runners: An Honest ReviewMy Profile

  7. I haven’t really had stomach issues from food during a race but some of the fake sugars in some drinks and bars really bother me. Anything with “sugar alcohols” I stay away from.
    Deborah Brooks @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Tuesdays on the Run-Hydration & FuelingMy Profile

  8. I usually go for a piece of toast with peanut butter and banana slices before races and long runs. Definitely want to try a waffle instead of toast next time! Your kashi waffle looked really tasty 🙂

    My stomach is usually pretty good except for in the last half marathon I ran… I couldn’t get much down for breakfast before the race and during the run I was SO hungry. I had “espresso love” and “vanilla bean” GUs for during the race and neither sat very well in my stomach :s Not sure why my stomach went crazy that race!
    Amy @ Life to the Full recently posted…A Slow Run is Better Than No RunMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge