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Fueling up for the 5K

I normally run in the afternoon or early evening during the week, though try to get started somewhat early on the weekends.  I find it can be difficult to shift gears and get out the door earlier in the morning, especially since I have to make sure I eat properly to prevent bonking while running.

A computer geek friend of mine recently mentioned how he ran into some difficulties trying to find his rhythm during his first 5K.  The race not surprisingly started in the early morning (8:30 am. or 9:00 a.m.), but my friend admitted he hasn’t tried running in the morning quite yet.

Even though a 5K isn’t quite the same as a half or full marathon, it still is one of those situations where you shouldn’t experiment too much on race day.

To help offer basic guidance, the Runner’s World (March edition) has some useful advice:

Run at the time of your race once a week.  Train your intestinal tract by rehearsing what you’ll eat.  Eat your normal breakfast (about 500 calories) four hours before your race time, then snack on a banana or energy bar an hour before you head out.  If pre-race jitters make you too nervous to eat the morning of a big event, practice eating breakfast the night before.

If you’re running a short distance (a 5K, for example), a large breakfast and two nights of carbo-loading obviously isn’t necessary.  I ran the AEF 5K a couple of weekends ago, and didn’t eat breakfast before running.  If you need to fuel up, be sure you eat a couple of hours before you run… you don’t want any unpleasant surprises by eating too close to race time.

For those of you who are just starting out on your running adventures, here is some good reading material: 5K eat and drink preparation, and here’s another article on Health Writing.

Prior to my long runs (and half marathon races), I’ll eat pancakes with syrup, water, Cytomax, and some oranges or banana.  I won’t eat 90 minutes prior to the event (except for a sport gel), as I don’t want to risk making myself sick.  If not pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and banana tends to fuel me up properly.

1 Comment so far »

  1. by ted, on May 5 2010 @ 6:46 pm


    I stay away from the banana’s in the morning. I also drink coffee and water in the morning.

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