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Common Racing Mistakes to Avoid

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Updated March 04, 2014

5 of 5

Racing Mistake #5: Eating Too Much or Too Little Before a Race
Bagel for breakfast
Eric Futran/Chefshots
Many runners who are new to racing eat too much before a race. They've heard about carbo-loading and think that they need to take in a lot of additional carbs and calories the night before a race. In reality, for shorter races, like a 5K, you most likely have enough stored energy in your body without having to carbo-load.

The other extreme is runners who are afraid to eat anything before a race because they fear cramping or gastrointestinal issues. They'll usually struggle to get through the last part of their race because they've burned through their stored energy.

The racing solution: If you're running a 10K or less, there's no need to load up on carbs the day before the race. But you shouldn't skip breakfast because you'll need some energy to burn before your body taps into its reserves.

Eat a meal at least one hour prior to the start of the race, so you have time to digest. Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber and protein. Some good choices are a bagel with peanut butter and a banana; yogurt and toast; a banana and a cereal bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. Stay away from rich, fatty, or high-fiber foods, as they may cause gastrointestinal distress. It's a good idea to practice eating breakfast before your morning training runs, so you're not trying anything for the first time on race day.

More: Should I Eat Before a Run?
What If I Don't Have Time to Eat Before Running?
Common Running Nutrition Mistakes

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