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2316 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 14, 2009 2:38 PM by goso
goso Expert 53 posts since
Jul 27, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 11, 2009 5:23 PM

eating before a 5k?

I run early, 5:00 or 5:30 am, & I don't eat before I run.  I'm running my first 5k this Saturday & it's not until 8:00 am.  I figure I'll need to eat something earlier, what's good & how much?  Sorry to be asking so many questions lately, I'm actually pretty nervous about this race.  Silly huh.



  • cyndi t Legend 1,061 posts since
    Aug 11, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 11, 2009 5:31 PM (in response to goso)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    Hi Goso.  I'm an early am runner too and normally don't eat before either.  When I race, though, since most start much later than I'm used to , I do eat something, usually a 1/2 protein bar or a toated english muffin with peanut butter.  Nothing to heavy.

    Good luck on your first 5K...its going to be great.  Be careful, they are highly



  • jcrule Amateur 228 posts since
    Jan 9, 2001
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Nov 11, 2009 7:32 PM (in response to cyndi t)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    I agree, just a little something in the tum-tum.  Hydrate normally.  Don't drink too much or you'll need to ge pee before the race..sometimes there are long lines at the port-a-potties even before a 5K!


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       ~ Love'em or Leave'em Valentine's Day Dash 5K - 2/13/10 (32:50)

       ~ Some local St. Patty's Day 5K, gotta register for one - 3/13/10

       ~ Birch Bay Road Race 5K - 3/27/10

       ~ Need to register for a 10K before June

       ~ Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Half!!!!!  6/26/2010

       ~ Danskin Triathlon (Sprint) - 8/15/10

  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Nov 11, 2009 7:47 PM (in response to goso)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    It is not a good idea to do ANYTHING just before or during a race that you haven't done successfully in training. If you haven't been eating before your training runs, you shouldn't be eating before your race either. 8 AM may seem late if you're used to running at 5 AM, but you'll probably get up later for the race than you would for a training run. 5K is also a short enough distance that it is not necessary to eat before running. If you eat a reasonable dinner the night before, you should be fine.

    2015 highlights...

    @ 5K: New Balance Palm Springs 5K, Palm Springs, CA, 24:32

    Angels Baseball Foundation 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:24

    Pride of the Valley, Baldwin Park, CA, 24:28

    @ 10K: LA Chinatown Firecracker 10K, Los Angeles, CA, 52:15

    Great Race of Agoura - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:40

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  • solarflare Amateur 22 posts since
    Oct 29, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 12, 2009 4:55 AM (in response to crl8686)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    I agree it is a good idea to not do something new on race day.  However, with the later start time, you are already doing something different.  Depending on your body chemistry, not eating before the race may be a bad idea.


    If you can, try to simulate race conditions by running at 8am on the Saturday before the race.  Get up early, and try eating something about 2 hours before your "simulated" race.  If it works then, it should work for you at the race.

  • dwm082 Community Moderator 1,063 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 12, 2009 6:15 AM (in response to solarflare)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    I typically nosh on a Clif bar or something like that an hour or two before a later start. I know that if I'm up for a couple of hours before a race without eating, my stomach will begin complaining about wanting food. The Clif bar is just about right for me. I generally avoid dairy (e.g., yogurt) and bananas before a run, since they just don't settle right for me.


    I also generally agree with the advice not to do anything on race day that you didn't do in training, but I don't feel like you're changing things up too much if you give yourself plenty of time to digest. I definitely wouldn't recommend downing your breakfast en route to the race or while waiting at the starting line.


    Good luck, goso, and don't apologize for the questions. Posts like yours are what keep communities like this alive!



    2012 Race Schedule

    Providence Marathon (4:48:55)

    Buffalo Half-Marathon (2:03:16)

    Chicago Marathon (October 7)

  • mattfenn Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 1, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 12, 2009 6:44 AM (in response to goso)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    I just ran my first 5k a few weeks ago. The start time was different from my normal run time also. We had a decent meal the night before and I hadn't planned on eating before the race in the morning. However, when I got up I felt like I needed something (maybe the nerves). Anyway, we were at a hotel, and my options were limited so I went with half a pop tart. Unconventional, but it settled my stomach and the race went great. A better option is probably a portion of a breakfast or energy bar. Good luck and have a blast!

  • shubhra Rookie 6 posts since
    Jul 10, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 12, 2009 7:33 AM (in response to goso)
    Re: eating before a 5k?

    When you begin a run, you should feel neither starved nor stuffed. You don't want to eat immediately before running because it may lead to cramping. Running on an empty stomach may cause you to run out of energy. You best bet is to eat a light snack or meal about 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you start running.  Choose something high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein. Some examples of good pre-workout fuel include: a bagel with peanut butter; a banana and an energy bar; or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk.

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