What to Eat and Drink on Race Day
We’ve been asked about supplements and hydration on the race course. For both full marathoners and half marathoners, what you should do on race day is what you’ve been doing in training. Don’t try anything new on race day.
Hydration Recommendations Prior to Race: Plan to be well-hydrated before you start.
Do not over hydrate in the final two hours preceding your start time. Otherwise you will need to get rid of the excess liquid after you start running which will be a major interruption! Plan to use the portable restrooms before you start and plan for long lines!
Hydrating during your race
The American College of Sports Medicine suggests 4-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes of running. Liquid stations are every two or so miles on the courses. With Gatorade and water available to you, use whatever makes your body comfortable (reminder: you should be practicing fueling and hydrating in your training). Gatorade can help to replace lost sodium and electrolytes and boost your carbohydrates.
If you have never had sports drinks on a long run before race morning, it may not be smart to try it for the first time in the race!
Depending on your rate of sweat loss (varies for each person) continue to hydrate immediately following your race until you are urinating every 2 hours and your urine is pale yellow.
Eating before your race
This is a highly individualized decision. Every athlete needs to practice this before their long runs to see what works best.
As a general rule, include mostly carbohydrates and protein and limit foods that are high in fat content. Your small breakfast (might be toast, jam or peanut butter, banana or bagel) is best consumed two hours prior (reminder: you should be practicing fueling and hydrating in your training).
DO NOT try anything new on race morning!
Eating during the race
Generally speaking, the Gatorade provided on the race course provides you with sufficient carbohydrates.
DO NOT try anything new on race day.
Eating after your race
To get your muscles fully recovered, try to get post-race foods within 30-60 minutes. Bagels, bananas are good choices on site and later, fruit and vegetables are good as well!