Banana and Honey on a Plate

A Color-A-Thon fun run is enjoyable for all ages and running levels. The most important thing is to set a goal for yourself, stick to it and have FUN. But if you want to boost your race and make sure your body is properly fueled, there are a few good foods to eat before a big run and after to keep you in tip-top shape.

Keeping your body running at peak efficiency with good nutrition and fluids is key to having a successful race. But overeating the day before can often overwhelm your digestive system. So, what is the best thing to eat before a race? The following is an easily digestible dietary guide that will have you feeling your best come race day.

What to Eat Before a Race

The human body requires healthy food and water to kick-start any type of physical activity. But when it comes to eating before a race, it can be difficult to know what is right for you and your body. Everyone has different tolerances and unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to food to eat before a race. But there are some general guidelines you can follow as you prepare for your marathon or School-A-Thon color run.

What to Eat Before a Short Race

If your race or Color-A-Thon is 60 minutes or less, you typically will want to have something small. Consider a light snack like half of a banana with honey, toast or a spoonful of peanut butter. Look for small meals that will still elevate your blood sugar while warding off hunger. For both a long or short race, you never want to try something new; who knows how your body will react.

What to Eat Before a Long Race

If your race or Color-A-Thon event will be 60 minutes or more, your body will require more energy. This means your pre-run snack or meal should be larger and take a little longer to digest. A good rule of thumb is to eat two to four hours prior to your race.

You’ll want to eat carbohydrates packed with nutrients, as this is your body’s preferred fuel source. Avoid fatty and highly fibrous foods as this can lead to indigestion, fatigue and stomach discomfort during your race. Instead, opt for the following:

  • A few days before the race, eat carb-heavy foods, like rice, lean meat, starchy veggies, fruits and pasta.
  • On the day of the race, keep your meal light. Go with foods like oatmeal with banana slices, bread/toast, a white bagel with peanut butter, white rice and a sports drink or a pulp-free fruit juice.
  • And be sure to drink 500 to 700 ml of fluids at least three hours before your race to stay hydrated.
  • About 15 minutes before your race, try to drink another 300 to 600 ml of fluid.

What Not to Do Before a Race

There are some definite things you should avoid on the day of your race. The following are just a few of the no-no’s when it comes to prepping for your Color-A-Thon.

  • Don’t overdo it on the liquids. If you’re doing anything less than a marathon, you don’t need a ton of sports drinks. You don’t want to consume more calories than you need before the race and sports drinks should be factored into your carb intake.
  • Don’t try anything new. We mentioned this previously, but it bears repeating. Now is not the time to try a new food or drink. You could wind up regretting it mid-race.
  • Don’t avoid going to the restroom. You don’t want a sloshy stomach during your Color-A-Thon fun run. You’ve been drinking a lot of fluids in preparation for your race, so be sure to hit the Porta Potty pre-race so you don’t start off with a full bladder.

What to Drink During a Race

During your race, you need to stay hydrated. While running, you naturally breathe heavily and perspire, causing dehydration. You’ll want to drink 150 to 250 ml of fluid (taking small sips) at regular intervals during your race to replace fluid loss. For runs lasting less than 90 minutes, you’ll want to stick to water. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices during your race as these can cause stomach discomfort.

What to Eat After a Race

Once your race or Color-A-Thon is over, you’ll need to hydrate with a sports drink. Isotonic beverages contain a concentration of salts and sugars that mimic that of the human body. About an hour after your race, have a carb-rich snack and a sports drink. Great options include a banana and peanut butter sandwich or an energy bar.

Two to three hours following your race, have a healthy and balanced meal with lean protein, carbohydrates and good fats. This can include fish, chicken, pasta, potatoes, nut butter, etc. Your body is in recovery mode and is depleted, so look for foods and beverages that can help you rehydrate, replenish and repair your body.

Staying healthy and comfortable during your Color-A-Thon is easy. If you adequately fuel your body with proper nutrition and water before, during and after your race, you’ll be in good shape.

Experience the Memory-Making Excitement of a School-A-Thon Fun Run

A Color-A-Thon event is a refreshing, fun and safe way to fundraise. Our color runs were created for all ages and skill levels, so encourage your friends, family and teachers to participate. If you have additional questions, be sure to check out our color run FAQ page.

Looking to shake up your school’s fundraiser program but don’t know where to start? Let School-A-Thon help! With our fun and interactive Color-A-Thon fun runs, we’ll help you host an unforgettable fundraising event. Need more information about hosting your own color run? Contact us today.

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