It’s running season in Nova Scotia! Between now and November not a week goes by without at least one race or marathon happening.

While training and proper nutrition have a big effect on your performance, what you eat before the big race also has a huge impact. In today’s post we’re going to look at 5 pre-race nutritional mistakes to avoid and make your race day the best it can be.

  1. Over-eating. Yes, your body needs fuel for the race–no you don’t need to carb load until you’re beyond stuffed. Overloading your body with food leaves you feeling sleepy and sluggish, and is hard on your digestive system, which can slow you down. Instead of over-eating, fuel up on healthy carbs, protein, and small amounts of fat, like salmon, raw nuts and whole grain bread, and eat to the point of satiation.
  2. Over-hydrating. Another common mistake that runners make is drinking too much water before the race. Our body can only take in so much at a time, and over-doing it will cause stomach cramps, and deplete your electrolyte levels. Like food, consume to the point of satiation, and consider electrolyte-rich drinks like coconut water.
  3. Trying new foods. The day before the big race is not the time to experiment with new foods, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.  You don’t know how your body will react, so it’s best to play it safe. Nothing slows down your race like a bad case of stomach cramps.
  4. Eating foods that are difficult to digest. Similar to trying new foods, playing it safe will prevent bloating and stomach issues. Some people have more sensitive stomachs than others, but in general it’s best to avoid fried foods, heavily processed foods, carbonated drinks, and excess amounts of dairy. Save the treats for your post-run celebration meal. J
  5. Skipping breakfast. Race day jitters may have your stomach in knots, tempting you to skip breakfast–but your race will likely suffer.. Breakfast helps stabilize blood sugars and keeps you focused and energized through your race. Opt for a high-carb breakfast, as they digest easily and give you the quickest energy boost. If you have trouble eating before the big race, opt for gentle, easily digestible foods like toast, fruit or a banana smoothie.

There you have it! Our top 5 tips to get the maximum benefit from your food before race day. Happy racing!


Kate Horodyski is a Halifax-based freelance writer and wellness blogger. You can find her online on My Spiritual Roadtrip and on Instagram, @myspiritualroadtrip.