6 Simple Tips for Fuelling Before and During a Race

Individual preferences vary, but these guidelines apply to every runner.


You’ve put in months of mileage, told your running friends about your goals, and have nonstop thoughts of a shiny new PB. So don’t let a bad nutrition plan undercut what you have worked for. Despite months of training, many runners fall short of their goals come race day due to a halfhearted attitude toward their pre-race nutrition.

In short, the goal with pre-race nutrition is to optimise fuel stores while avoiding gastrointestinal distress. You optimise fuel stores by carb loading in the days prior to race day and by having a carb-rich breakfast the morning of the race. You should take the time to determine the volume of carbs your body needs, as well as what that looks like—meaning, make a nutrition plan based on your preferences, gut feedback, and available options.

Avoid becoming a mid-race bonker or a kilomtre 4 bathroom-stopper, and take the time to develop and practice a smart and effective fuelling plan using the following tips.

Understand your individual carbohydrate needs

The goal with carb loading is to optimise muscle glycogen stores (stored carbohydrates) to fill your body’s natural energy bucket to the brim for it to pull from on race day. While races less than 90 minutes do not require carb loading, longer events—like the marathon—do.

The Mayo Clinic currently recommends that you consume 8 to 12 grams per kilogram of body weight of carbohydrate per day in the two to three days prior to their event, while resting or significantly dialling back their training.

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