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What Should You Eat When Preparing for a 5 km or 10 km Race

For a growing number of Quebecers, summer is synonymous with jogging. As interest for running increases with every passing year, 5 km and 10 km races are multiplying. If you signed up for one of these events, you are probably training accordingly. But did you give any thought to your nutrition before D-Day?

A few days before the competition

Did you know it is possible to increase energy reserves in your muscles through nutrition? As a matter of fact, here’s some advice that should be religiously followed in the week preceding your challenge:

  • Make sure to eat balanced meals and snacks with a good quantity of carbs. Aim for a minimum of 60 g or carbs per meal, and 30 g per snack.
  • Take a nutritious snack after each workout-no exceptions!
  • Feed your muscles, don’t deprive them! Don’t limit your calorie intake to lose weight.

The morning of the competition

The hours preceding the competition are of the utmost importance. Here are a few things to plan for:

  • Eat a complete meal 3 to 4 hours prior to the event. Your body will have enough time to digest the meal, and your energy won’t be used to digest what’s in your gut during the race.
  • After that meal, eat carbs every hour until the beginning of the race, ideally liquid or pureed (juice, gels, energy drinks, compotes, etc.).
  • Drink a minimum of 500 ml of liquid before the beginning of the race.
  • Eat a moderate amount of proteins, because they are harder to digest than carbs.
  • Avoid very fatty or sweet foods, such as dessert, fried foods, and sauces.
  • Avoid foods rich in fibre (legumes, whole grains, etc.), spicy foods, or gas-producing foods (cabbage, onion, broccoli, etc.) according to your own tolerance.
  • Avoid dehydrating beverages, such as coffee, tea, or alcohol.

Tabelau preparing race

In conclusion, here’s some super-important advice to consider when taking part in a sports competition: always test your nutrition and hydration plan the day before the event to avoid nasty surprises!

By Vanessa Martin, nutritionist


Ledoux, Marielle et al. 2009. Nutrition, sport et performance. 2nd Ed. Les Éditions Vélo Québec, 93 p.

Vanessa Martin

A newcomer to Nautilus Plus, Vanessa Martin holds a degree in nutrition from the Université de Montréal and is a member in good standing of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec. She also works in the hospital setting and loves to blog in her spare time. Passionate and versatile, Vanessa plans on enhancing her knowledge in the field of psychology with an eye to better guiding and motivating the habit-changing endeavors of her clients. Member of a running club, she enjoys taking part in the competitions organized in her area. Vanessa is currently training for a 21 km race and would like to run her first marathon!

What Should You Eat When Preparing for a 5 km or 10 km Race is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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