How to Create the Perfect Pre-Race Meal

Pre-Race Meal Plan

Can't stomach one huge morning meal? Divide it up.

Here's how a 150-pound runner would fuel:

3 to 4 Hours Pre-Race:

  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons honey (62 g of carbs)
  • 6 ounces yogurt (17 g)
  • 1 large banana (31 g)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins (16 g)
  • 4 ounces juice (14 g)
  • 12 to 20 ounces water (0 g) 

Total Carbs=140 grams

90 Minutes to 2 Hours Pre-Race:

  • 1 slice bread with 1 tablespoon jam (28 g)
  • 24 ounces sports drink (47 g)

Total Carbs=75 grams

30 to 60 Minutes Pre-Race:

  • 1 energy gel or serving of energy chews (25 g)
  • 8 to 12 ounces water (0 g) 

Total Carbs=25 grams

More: How to Carb-Load Before a Race

Recover Right

How to eat and drink after you cross the finish—right away and beyond:

Focus on Carbs: Eat half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of weight. For a 150-pound runner, that's 75 grams, or the equivalent of a bagel and banana.

Eat Protein: Consume 15 to 20 grams of protein to kick-start muscle repair. Get it from a high-protein energy bar (by following the rules to choosing the right energy bar) along with fruit, or a PB&J.

Drink Up: Aim for 20 ounces of fluid. Including 200 mg of sodium or more will boost fluid absorption. Try sports drinks and recovery shakes.

But Skip the Booze: You're already dehydrated. Wait at least several hours, till you've had a chance to rehydrate and refuel, and then toast your finish.

Keep It Going: For the next 48 hours, continue to focus on eating plenty of carbohydrates and modest portions of high-quality protein.

More: Top 5 Vitamins for Muscle Recovery

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