The ideal way to prepare for a 5K race is first to have a good training program that is suitable for distance. Secondly, we need to think about the kinds of food to eat before the race, which will supply us with enough energy to last the entire run.
Although a 5K race is not a long-distance race, most of the races are held in the morning. So, we should consider the kinds of food and drinks we should avoid before the race.
Eating in the morning is not easy for most people; eating before a morning race can be even more of a challenge! We want to supply the body with enough energy for the physical effort, but we want to avoid feeling heavy. You don’t want to start the race feeling like the food you ate that morning is still stored in your stomach.
Many articles tell you what to eat before a workout or race. Carbohydrate-rich foods are recommended as an energy source for the muscles. But what should you avoid? What kinds of food or drinks could damage your physical ability during a morning race?
What kinds of food and drinks should you avoid before a race?
Acidic foods- Before a run, especially a morning race, consuming acidic foods and drinks can cause uncomfortable feelings in the stomach like nausea, acid reflux and stomach aches. Try to avoid acidic foods at least two to three hours before the race.
Foods rich in fat- When you eat foods that contain high amounts of fat, it takes longer for the food to be digested because fat delays gastric emptying. You could feel heavy and uncomfortable during the run.
Foods rich in fiber- Dietary fibers are a healthy part of our food. However, during physical activity they slow the digestive process by demanding a lot of energy. This can cause a heavy feeling during the race.
Fibrous food examples: Cereals rich with fiber (more than 4g per serving), whole grain bread, oatmeal rich with fiber, flax seeds, chia seeds,fresh vegetables, cooked vegetables, salads, beans, bran.
Soda drinks- Soda drinks, and even sparkling water—can cause uncomfortable feelings of gas and reflux. Avoid sweet or diet soda drinks before the race and opt for plain water instead.
Soda examples: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, etc.
A big meal- Morning is often a time in which our body is not used to eating a lot. A 5K race is considered to be a short race, so you don't need to eat a large amount of food before starting the race.
Big meal examples: A "traditional" weekend breakfast, large breakfast sandwich bacon, eggs and cheese
A good example of a pre-race meal (at least one hour before): Focus on foods rich in carbohydrates that are easy to digest. Also, pay attention to the amount you eat; avoid overeating!
Pre-race meal examples: One or two slices of bread with honey or jam, fresh or dried fruit, combination of yogurt and fruit or cereal with milk.