Pre Race Foods: What Not to Eat

A runner’s diet is a very individual choice, and has caused many nutritional experts to agree, and disagree, on the ‘best’ foods to fuel an athlete training for running events. At Running On the Wall, we recognize that within the variety of diets that are effective, there are also certain foods that in most cases should be avoided to consume 24 hours before your actual race event. Here is a short list of foods that might be best to pass by before your race day.

  1. High fibre fruits and vegetables

Although these are important when you are training to maintain a healthy digestive system, if you consume these the morning of a long run, or even the night before, you might find yourself with a sorry case of diarrhea or gastrointestinal distress during your run.

  1. Caffeine

Although some runners can tolerate caffeine before a run, it is something to be aware of that cause stomach issues for many. If you don’t normally consume caffeine during your training runs, race day would not be a good time to ‘experiment’ with whether this bothers your stomach or not.

  1. High fat foods

Cheese, bacon, fried foods – these types of high fat foods can wreak havoc on your stomach and will make you feel low in energy, and heavy in the gut. Avoid high fat foods before a race.

These are just some of the foods that are (for most runners) best avoided on race day, or even the day before. Another sensitive food that can be difficult to digest is dairy, although some runners are fine with this. If you want to stay on the safe side, try eating a yogurt with high acidophilus to increase the good bacteria in your digestive system. Low fibre fruits and vegetables as well as refined carbs that are easy to break down and use as fuel are also great options before a run.

Filling your running medal holder is not easy, and it takes dedication to not only put in the hours of training, but to stick to a clean diet of healthy eating. Get tips on what has worked for other runners by joining a running club, reading up in runners’ guides and publications and visiting running sites and forums. You will likely find that runners are a ‘sharing’ group, and are willing to provide knowledge and direction to less experienced runners.

At Running On the Wall, we know that it takes time to really understand what make your own body perform at its best. Running for years, we are still discovering new ways to make foods taste great, fuel our body and help us endure the long races we strive to complete. Don’t neglect this vital part of your training and preparation for race events. Make sure your body has sufficient energy to run the course, and that you will be celebrating your victory as you cross finish lines and reach your goals!