10 Foods to Fuel a 5K

Eggs

Hands down the best whole food source of quality protein, eggs are affordable. Eggs are incredibly versatile and loaded with protein that revs your metabolism and repairs muscles. Eggs contain 6 grams of protein each and are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids.

We used to worry that eating the yolks would raise cholesterol. To date, there have been no scientific studies to support that theory. What's more, the yolk contains about half the protein found in the egg and the mineral choline, which helps fend off inflammation—ideal for post-workout recovery. Additionally the USDA reported that eggs today have more vitamin D and less cholesterol than they did in 2002, when they were last studied.

More: 6 Easy Egg Recipes

Bananas 

The ideal on-the-go energy source for athletes, bananas are packed with potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese. Runners are known for training on consecutive days, often with little rest. Because of this, the body spends more time repairing tissues from training, leaving you more susceptible to getting sick. Eating foods like bananas can help you stay fit and healthy throughout race season. One medium banana contains around 28 grams of carbs, making them a smart choice pre- and post-workout.

More: What to Eat Before a Run

To get green bananas to ripen: Place them in a brown bag until they become soft to the gentle touch. The brown bag traps the ethylene gas produced by the bananas, while the paper bag allows oxygen to flow well, allowing for a much quicker natural ripening process.

More: 4 Fruits You Should Snack On

Peanut Butter

When it comes to running fuel, you can't get much better than peanut butter. High in healthy fats, fiber and protein, peanut butter provides you with sustained energy throughout a long- or short-distance run. The healthy fats found in this childhood favorite are digested slower than carbs, providing a feeling of fullness for a longer while, and slow-releasing nutrients for use as energy throughout your workout. When we eat carbs, our insulin spikes rapidly, providing a quick boost of energy. Slowing that boost down just a bit with the addition of healthy fats like peanut butter can take that quick boost and turn it in to sustained energy.

The great thing about peanut butter is that it doesn't spoil. You can pack it to go and eat it with a banana for the perfect mid-day snack.

More: Learning to Snack Strategically

Coffee

Grabbing a cup of coffee to start your day does more than awaken the senses. An average eight-ounce cup of coffee contains 104 to 192 milligrams of caffeine. Studies on endurance training and caffeine indicate an increase in brain power—the ability to focus on the task at hand—endurance and rate of perceived exertion. You can train longer, harder and faster. Caffeine causes the body to use fat as fuel, sparing glycogen (carbohydrate) stores. That means you're less likely to hit a wall or bonk.

More: Caffeine, the Ergogenic Aid

If you're someone who drinks the dark stuff regularly, try holding off a few weeks before your big race, then have a cup before your race for an extra boost of energy.

More: 7 Experts on Pre-Race Nutrition Essentials

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