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Top 3 Fueling Tips for Race Day

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Fall races are here! I have put together 3 of my biggest tips for runners on race day so that you can crush your goals! Have a nutrition strategy for race day is so, so important! Each runner is so unique in what fueling works for them, or what does not work for them! Don't go into race day playing the guessing game. This may put you in the port-a-potties more so than on the course!

See the video below where I discuss my top 3 fueling tips on race day. In the video, I also share some of my favorite pre-race meals, during the race fuel, and even my favorite hydration solution.



Tip #1 Don't try any new fuel or hydration strategies on race day!

You'd be surprised how many runners have told me their horror stories after trying new things on race day. Don't do this! Plan ahead. Don't get caught in the comparison trap. Each runner is unique in what fuel they tolerate, how much they need, and how often. It is OK to be different.

Tip #2 Do Eat and Hydrate Prior to the Race!

We want to do the tried and true strategies that promote optimal performance - which is to stock up our energy stores as much as we can prior to the race. One way we do this is to eat a meal or at least a snack prior to the start. This meal/snack should have carbohydrates as the STAR - it is the most important macronutrient to stock up those energy stores! Get up prior to the race and make yourself some sort of breakfast. Here are some general tips when putting together your meal.

1 hour before the race = 1 gram carbohydrate/kilogram of body weight.
2 hours before the race = 2 grams carbohydrate/kilogram of body weight.
3 hours before the race = 3 grams carbohydrate/kilogram of body weight.
4 hours before the race = 4 grams of carbohydrate/kilogram of body weight.

Pair your carbohydrate with moderate amounts of protein/fat/fiber. These 3 components will slow down digestion, and may cause multiple bathroom runs if in too large of amounts.

Tip #3 Half and Full Marathoners - Do Fuel and Hydrate DURING the Race!

Our body has limited amount of carbohydrates (a.k.a energy) it can store at one time. Therefore, if you are on the course for >45 minutes, you will need to replenish those stores. Shoot for 30-60 grams of easy to digest carbohydrate every hour. This can be accomplished using gels, chews, carbohydrate solutions, or solid foods. It can be guided by personal preference and tolerance. Again - do what works for you! Be sure you are hydrating on the course as well. A fluid solution with extra electrolytes is especially important for those that are on the course for >2 hours and/or heavy sweaters. Hydration needs vary, but 14-27 ounces of fluid per hour typically does the trick for most people.


Unsure if your race strategy is truly the best one for you? Or, do you not have a race strategy at all? I provide individualized nutrition coaching AND MORE for people just like you! Interested? Shoot me an email and I can schedule you a time slot for a FREE 15 minute consultation with me to discuss your needs and goals.

Be sure to follow Flexible Nutrition on Facebook and Instagram to be in the know of new updates/content.

Kindest regards,

Maddi Osburn RDN LD

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