What To Eat The Night Before A Long Run

January 23, 2023

We all have done it: we went on a run and started to feel dizzy after some time. This dizzy, weak feeling is often caused by the wrong food before a run.

Food is what gives our body the energy it needs to move during the day. It is especially important when you are pushing your body to the limits with an exercise routine.

From carbs to protein, we find out what foods give you the most energy for your regular run and long distance races.

What To Eat The Night Before A Long Run

It’s easy to think that only the breakfast before a run really matters but what you eat the evening before your race is essential as this is what builds your energy storage.

As a rule of thumb, nutritionists recommend to focus on four key ingredients for your meal 12 hours before your run. These include carbohydrates, vitamins, fats and proteins.

What exactly you eat depends on your preferences but it’s a good idea to keep a food journal where you log what you eat, when you ate it and how you felt shortly before your run.

This allows you to narrow down the different food choices to a food plan optimized for your needs.


Carbs are undoubtedly the most important foods you need to eat as a runner. Carbohydrates will keep your energy levels high and it stops your blood sugar level from dropping.

This means you won’t get any more dizzy spells.

Some of the best carbs are in whole grains, such as brown rice with plenty of vegetables. You can also eat sweet potatoes and pizza but make sure to stick to a reasonable amount.


Protein is the element in your food that helps you build muscles fibers and it also increases muscle growth.

Bear in mind that many protein-rich foods are often fatty, so ensure that you eat foods low in fat, such as chicken, fish or eggs.


While large amounts of fat in your food can cause serious health issues, your body needs a small amount of fatty acids to fuel your metabolism.

It’s best to eat foods that contain polyunsaturated fats, such as salmon, mackerel, sunflower seeds and avocados.

Minerals And Vitamins

Besides carbs, protein and fat, your body will also need plenty of minerals and vitamins to keep it going during a run.

It doesn’t just provide energy but it also repairs your muscle tissue. That’s why, try to eat a lot of leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.

What Should You Eat Before A 5K Race?

When you feel ready, the first competition that you may want to run is a 5K race. Compared to half-marathons and marathons, a 5K race is reasonably short.

This means you don’t need to prepare too much ahead for your first long distance run. However, you will stick need to watch your pre-race eating habits.

Make sure that the meal the night before your long run contains a good mix of carbohydrates, some fat and protein.

This could be a portion of brown rice with a fillet of grilled salmon and steamed vegetables.

What Should You Eat Before A 10K Race?

Once you ran your first 5K race, you will already have a feeling for what food works for your body before you start the race.

However, a pre-race meal before a 10K run should be a little different. You will need to increase your vegetable and protein intake.

Asparagus and kale combined with chicken breast and sweet potatoes works really well.

What Should You Eat Before A Half Marathon?

The longer your races, the more careful you need to be with your food intake and what you eat.

When it comes to distances, such as a half marathon, it is not only about what you eat the night before but you will need to prepare with regular training and a healthy diet.

Your meal before your half-marathon race should include a significant amount of carbs, with a mix of vegetables and proteins.

What Should You Eat Before A Marathon?

Similar to a half marathon, you need to carefully watch what you eat.

Many marathon runners know that successfully running a long distance race is not just about training but also a good diet.

You need to make sure that you avoid alcohol, caffeine, fast food and fizzy drinks during your training and the night before the race.

Eat some very lean meat or grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and pasta.

It’s also a good idea to have some running snacks with you on the day of the race.

However, make sure that you try them during your training as some of these snacks can cause an upset stomach.

Tops Tips For Your Pre-Race Meals

What To Eat The Night Before A Long Run

Here are some essential tips for preparing your meals before a long run or long-distance race.

Avoid Too Much Fiber

Fiber is well-known for unwanted bathroom breaks and upset stomachs, so it’s a good idea to avoid eating too much fiber the night before your race.

Stay Hydrated

It’s not just the food that fuels your body during a run but also plenty of fluids. Make sure that you drink plenty of water with your pre-race meal.

Avoid Carb Overload

Carbs are an essential part of your running diet but you shouldn’t overload your body with carbohydrates. Too many carbs can make you feel sluggish or lethargic.

Listen To Your Body

There is no definite recipe for everyone when it comes to pre-race meals. Everyone’s body and exercise levels are different.

In addition, you may also have previous health conditions or you may suffer from food intolerances.

Take all of this into account when you put together a food plan for your pre-race meal.

Final Thoughts

It’s a good idea to eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates before a long run.

Try to avoid too much fat and too much sugar.

What to Eat Before Your Long Run

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