Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Health

Your Cheat Sheet To The Perfect Fueling Plan

A breakdown of what, when and why.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Nutrition is a critical component to racing—duh. It’s important to remember, what works for you may be different than your running BFF. There are some basic ground rules for a proper fueling plan. Here’s how to eat right the day of your big race so you can run your best.

Pre-race (3-4 hours)

Consume a healthy and familiar (possibly low in fat and/or fiber) meal containing mostly carbohydrates. Some examples include a bagel and peanut butter, hash browns and eggs, or oatmeal with raisins. If this is not possible in the morning, have a good dinner the night before.

Pre-race (1-2 hours)

Consume a light, carbohydrate-rich, familiar and tolerable snack with 16 ounces of fluid.

Immediately before (10–20 minutes)

Drink 7–10 ounces of fluid (with carbs and sodium for exercise over an 1 hour or if you skipped a pre-race meal).

During (every 10–20 minutes)

For races under 1 hour, drink water when you’re thirsty.

For races over 1 hour, choose a full-strength sports drink. Drink 12–28 ounces of fluid per hour (or more). Experiment with 25–40+g of carbohydrate per hour in the form of high-carb snacks, gels or chews and possibly additional electrolytes.

Post-workout (within 30 minutes)

Drink 16–24 ounces for every 1 pound lost and consume a carbohydrate-rich snack. Chocolate milk, a sports drink, a banana, orange slices or pretzels are all good choices. Aim for a real meal within 2–3 hours.