What Should I Eat Before I Run?

Tips for Your Pre-AJC Peachtree Road Race Nutrition 

Nutrition is a key aspect of running.  If you eat too little, you may feel sluggish.  If you eat too much, you could feel bloated and heavy during the race.  And if you eat the wrong foods, you could end up spending a lot of time in the restroom.

What Should I Eat the Night Before the Race?

Be careful of the “carbo loading” ritual of many runners.  Eating too many carbs the night before a race can leave you feeling sluggish on race day.  Eat foods that are easily digestible such as lean proteins, fruits, or foods with Omega -3’s.  Also, make sure to hydrate with water and electrolytes.  Electrolytes can be found in drinks like PowerAde or Gatorade.  Drinking too much water could be harmful, so try to include some electrolytes into your pre-race routine.

Race Day Meal Planning

Try to get up early on the morning of the race and eat your pre-race meal.  Eating at least 1 – 2 hours before your race is recommended but if you have a weak stomach, you may need to eat as much as 4 hours before the race.  If you eat 3 – 4 hours out, make sure to consume more calories than you would if you eat only 1 hour before the race.

What Should I Eat Before I Run?

What Food to Eat Before a Running Race

At least 80% of the calories you eat before your race should come from carbohydrates.  This could be in the form of a bagel, oatmeal, English muffin, pancakes (go easy on the syrup) or energy bars.

Avoid the following foods before a running race:

  • Foods with high fiber content
  • Foods high in fat
  • Vegetables such as onions and cabbage which may leave you gassy and bloated
  • Foods high in protein because it takes your body longer to digest. Carbs can be digested quicker and used for energy needed to run your race!

I highly encourage you to test out different foods.  The best time for you to eat is during your morning training runs to simulate race day conditions and determine what works best for you.  So start practicing now!  Race day is quickly approaching!

Good luck and have fun out there!


Peachtree Road RaceEmory Healthcare is a proud sponsor of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

Emory Healthcare is the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia and includes Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital, Wesley Woods Center, Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Emory Adventist Hospital, The Emory Clinic, Emory Specialty Associates, and the Emory Clinically Integrated Network.

Come visit us at the AJC Peachtree Road Race expo in booth 527 to get your blood pressure checked and learn more about how Emory Healthcare can help you and your family stay healthy!


About Dr. Mason
Dr. Amadeus MasonDr. Mason is an assistant professor in the Orthopaedics and Family Medicine departments at Emory University. He is board certified in Sports Medicine with a special interest in track and field, running injuries and exercise testing. He has been trained in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound, and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection. Dr. Mason is Team Physician for USA Track and Field and the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation Track and Field and Cross Country meets, Tucker High School, and Georgia Tech Track and Field.

Dr. Mason is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the America Road Racing Medical Society, and the USA Track and Field Sports Medicine and Science Committee. He has been invited to be a resident physician at the US Olympic Training Center, a Sports Medicine consultant in his homeland of Jamaica and the Chief Medical Officer at multiple USA Track and Field international competitions. He has also been a frequently featured guest CNN’s fit nation commenting on a wide variety of topics related to athletics and running injuries. Dr. Mason attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team.

Dr. Mason is an active member of the Atlanta running community. He attended Princeton University and was Captain of the track team. His other sports interests include soccer, college basketball and football, and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). A Decatur resident, he is married with three children.

Related Resources:

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,