What To Eat Before Running A 5k (And What to Avoid)

What To Eat Before Running a 5k

So, you’ve signed up for your first 5k, race day is right around the corner, and you’re hoping to run your fastest that morning with a smile still on your face at the finish line. Did you know, however, that the perfect 5k starts not at the starting line but the night before at dinner? Specifically, do you know what to eat before running a 5k?

To truly feel your best on race day, it’s important to eat the right dinner and breakfast before your 5k. Read on to find out exactly what you should eat before running a 5k so that you can run like the wind!

Eat a Healthy Amount of Carbs But Don’t Overdo It

If you’ve been a part of the running world for any amount of time, you’ve heard the term “carb loading”; this means eating more carbohydrates than usual in the days or hours leading up to a race. However, if you’re only running a 5k race, there’s no need to overindulge on carbs. Save the carb loading for when you’re running for 90 minutes or longer!

You do, however, need to ingest carbs before your race. Carbohydrates provide your body with easy-to-burn sources of fuel; without enough carbs, you’ll feel tired and heavy throughout your run.

Pre-race dinner:

It’s a good idea to eat a small portion of carbs with your dinner the night before your 5k– but don’t overdo it! Eating a massive plate of spaghetti the night before the race is ideal for half marathons but may leave you feeling bloated and heavy during a shorter 5k. Try including either pasta, rice, bread, or simple starches in your dinner the night before your race, but again, try not to over-indulge.

Pre-race breakfast:

Don’t eat a massive breakfast complete with waffles, syrup, and bacon right before you cross the starting line. That’s a surefire recipe for stomach cramps! Runner’s World suggests keeping your pre-race breakfast limited to 200-300 calories of easy-to-digest carbs. This means eating something simple and light, such as a bagel or a few pieces of toast. We’ll get into some examples of the perfect pre-5k breakfast below.

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I have been a lifelong fitness student and enthusiast ever since winning the gold at conference in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM back in my “glory days.” I am also a writer and the marketing wizard here at My Top Fitness. I have an ever-growing list of interests, including swimming, running, golf, bowling, speedcubing, speed running (old Nintendo games), locksport, cooking, chess, tournament poker, fishing, hiking, camping, and sleight of hand, just to name a few. On some platforms, you can find me as the self-appointed “Jack of all Hobbies” I am a proud husband and father of 2 children, a.k.a. gremlins, and I am super excited to help as many people as possible on their individual fitness journeys.