Road Race Day-of Nutrition Guide (3.5 Miles)

Tomorrow, Team Next Jump NYC runs the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge 3.5 mile road race.  Whether walking, running or planning to do both, proper race day nutrition is essential.  Why?  Adrenaline surges during a race.  You walk or run harder as a result, which uses more energy from your tank of gas.  On top of that, climate plays a role in sweat rate, making it crucial to pay attention to thirst and fluid intake.  When I began writing this post, tomorrow’s weather seemed ideal for a road-race (i.e., not too hot, a little wind, and some clouds). But it now looks like 60% chance of rain (might be good to break the heat!).  Either way, road racing comes with great responsibility: fuel well or dehydration will rear its ugly head.  My post goes into more detail about the best sports nutrition practices for your race.  But if you decide not to read on: eat breakfast, lunch, a snack and drink at least 1 liter of water before 3 pm.  After 3pm, start hydrating again to get in another liter before the 7 pm race start.  Start hydrating today!    

Race-day fluids:

1.       BEFORE THE RACE: NYC has a 7:00 pm start-time; drink normally throughout the day.  AT LEAST ONE hour before the run, drink anywhere from 16-24oz of fluids (2-3 cups).  Plan to void (use the restroom!) prior to the race time.  Drink about 4 oz before starting (this usually equals two big gulps of water).

2.       DURING THE RACE: the Corporate Challenge sets up race stations with water in 4oz shooters.  If you are racing for a time < 30 min, you need 0-1 shooters for the race.  If you plan to run > 30 min, plan to stop by the stations at least 2 times.  There will be no Gatorade at this race—meaning, if you think you will be out there for 45-60 min, it is wise to bring a G2 from the office.

3.       AFTER THE RACE: Rehydration is essential to avoid cramping and recover from sweat losses.  Plan to rehydrate with water or a sports drink – at least 20-24 oz.  If your urine is dark yellow, you will need to keep drinking to obtain the lemonade color.  Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that your body will lose fluids when consuming this drink.  Not the best fluid to have post-exercise; however, if you plan to consume alcohol post-race, make sure to hold a glass of water in the other hand.  For every one beer, drink two cups of water to stay hydrated.

Race-day nutrition:

Do what you NORMALLY do – no drastic changes on race-day!  If you are completely in the dark about how to eat, here is a guide to “eating clean” the day of the race.

1.       BREAKFAST: yogurt with granola and berries

2.       MID-MORNING SNACK: apple with string cheese

3.       LUNCH: Turkey or hummus and cheese sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread; side small salad

4.       MID-AFTERNOON SNACK: Trail mix with pretzels or granola bar

5.       PRE-RACE: ½ – whole banana and/or ½ – whole kashi or nature’s valley bar

6.       POST-RACE DINNER: Make sure to get 1 portion of carb (bread, pasta, corn, potato, rice), 1 portion of protein (meat, cheese, tofu, seafood), and 1 portion of veggies.

Questions – contact me!


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