What to eat before a 5k Run

If you have a 5k running event coming up you’ll know the importance of training and exercise to get you ready for race day – but have you thought about what you should be eating to power you through the run? The food you eat before you begin your race plays a big part in getting you energised and ready to run your best 5k yet!

How much do I need to eat before a 5k?

As a shorter running distance, there’s no need to do any heavy carb loading for a 5k. A heavy pre-race meal can make you feel sluggish and bloated and is likely to impact your performance. In reality, it’s unlikely that you will be running for more than 40-60 minutes for a 5k, even as a beginner, meaning that you will only be burning around 300-400 calories. For an ideal pre-race meal, try to eat an hour or two before your run and stick to 200-300 calories. 

What is the best food to eat before a 5k?

To give you a steady source of energy through your run, unprocessed carbohydrates should make up the biggest portion of your pre-race meal. Try experimenting with different meal ideas on your training runs to find out what works best for you. If you are running early in the day, some good breakfast options include porridge topped with fruit or a bagel with scrambled eggs. For lunchtime, you might prefer a small portion of pasta with a light tomato sauce. Foods high in fat or protein take longer for your body to digest, so it’s best to limit these types of food to no more than 10g before your run.

Don’t forget the water!

As well as eating well, it’s important to stay hydrated both during your race and throughout your training. Keep your H2O topped up by drinking 250 – 500ml of water (a small bottle) a couple of hours before and then again 30 minutes before you start running. Aim to top up every 15 minutes during your run with 100 – 200ml more. Sports drinks that help replace electrolytes and lost fluids during exercise are popular with runners too, but for shorter races like a 5k you’ll probably find that water alone will do the trick!

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We hope you enjoyed this blog, read more of our running guides and advice