It can be difficult to know what to eat before training sessions and races. You want something that is light enough to sit well in your stomach but you also want to ensure you are sufficiently fuelled.
The main way to understand what your stomach can tolerate best before working your body hard is through trial and error. You never know unless you try. What one person says works for them may not work for another. We are all individual and we all have different likes and dislikes. I am no nutritionist and there is nothing I can suggest that you should do, but what I can tell you, is what works for me.
When it comes to pre race or session fuelling, timing and organisation can be crucial. You need to be organised so when you leave the house in the morning, you have all the snacks and food you need with you. You also can’t be on your way to the track and throw down a sandwich 10 minutes before you are about to start. This will not bode for a pleasant or comfortable run. This too involves some trial and error, but eventually you will find out what works best for you. I personally leave 1.5 hours between having a light snack and starting the warm up of my session. This tends to take the form of a banana or snack bar. When it comes to racing, I tend to have a larger snack, such as a bagel with almond butter as I know from experience this sits well in my stomach. I will eat this roughly 2.5 hours before my race start time. That works for me, but again we are all different. Some people can eat up to an hour before racing whilst others need at least 4 hours. What sits well in our stomachs is different for everyone, and it takes us all different lengths of time to feel comfortable to run again after eating.
What you eat and when you eat it can also depend on what session or race you are doing. For shorter, sharper events you won't necessarily want to eat the same thing at the same time as you would for a 10km race. Fuelling the right way for you is all part of the journey towards becoming a better and more experienced athlete.
Here are a few light snack and meal ideas that may help you prepare for your upcoming race or session.
Light snack ideas:
There are plenty of food options you can try before racing or training, and there is no one solution suits all. Ultimately, when it comes to fuelling, I find the best thing to do is not overcomplicate it. As long as you are feeling relaxed and leave enough time between eating and running, there are lots of different food options that can work for you. So, if you're trying something new, trial it out on a session before you race and find out your best pre-race/training food options.
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!