Race Fuel

If you aren’t quite powering through the finish line with the burst of energy you’d like to feel, it may be because of the food you are — or aren’t — eating before you pull on your running shoes.


Julian Kaufman, owner of Fitness Together

“It can make the difference between a good run and a bad run,” says Pamela Kelle, a Chattanooga dietitian and licensed nutrition therapist. “And timing is everything.”

Carbs and proteins — particularly carbs — are key to making sure you have the energy during a race, she says.

Julian Kaufman, owner of Fitness Together, recommends prerace foods should be foods you eat every day to maintain a healthy diet. “The best foods are always going to be what the best foods are — plenty of water plus a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, potatoes and whole grains are the best insurance,” he says.

Water: There is no substitute, says Kaufman. You must be hydrated properly and continue to hydrate throughout the race. Generally, sports drinks are only necessary when activity is intense for more than 90 minutes.

Whole grains: Whole-wheat English muffins and whole-grain crackers are good choices. The key is that any grains need to be whole grains. Granola bars or breakfast bars provide quick energy. Kelle says even a Pop Tart is not an absolute no-no. “I don’t recommend them in general, but they break down really fast and provide a good burst of energy,” she says.

Fruits and veggies: Bananas and citrus fruits are always a good choice, Kelle says. “Good old raisins and peanuts,” or GORP, can include any number of foods that contain protein, carbohydrates and salt replacement such as raisins, peanuts, M&Ms, dried fruit, nuts, pretzels, dried coconut, chocolate chips or rice crackers.

Finish Line Refueling: Chocolate milk contains calcium and vitamins to help replenish the energy burned during a run.


Home | Featured | Best Month | Running | Climbing | Hiking | Paddling | Cycling | Camping | Birding | Fishing | Nature | Active Kids | Contact | Subscribe