Pre-Competition Day Nutrition

More and more athletes (and everyday people) are entering competitions to increase their athletic performance, and improve their health.

5k. 10k. half marathon. full marathon. Ironman. duathlon. triathlon. mud runs… and more.

Proper nutrition throughout competition days will keep athletes from feeling hungry, prevent injury, provide fuel for muscle and keep athletes mentally alert and focused, which will help with their performance.

Pre-Competition Meal:

  • 3-4 hours before competition=regular size meal
  • 2-3 hours before=smaller meal
  • 30 minutes to 1 hour before= a small snack or liquid

An optimal pre-competition meal includes: medium serving of lean protein, large serving of starchy carbs, foods with added salt, and plenty of caffeine-free fluids.

Don’t forget that your pre-training meal is as important as your pre-competition meal. Select foods prior to your competition that you’ve tried before. Nothing is worse than trying a new “performance” snack on the day of your competition, and finding out it gives you the runs! 🙂


  • fried foods
  • high-fat meats
  • creamy sauces, soups & gravies
  • creamy dressings (mayo, ranch dressing)
  • biscuits
  • spicy foods
  • entrée salads
  • cakes, pies, regular ice cream
  • sugary cereals
  • soda
  • whole milk
  • foods you’ve never tried before!

Top-off Fuel: 30-60 minutes before the start of the competition, make sure your energy stores are “topped off” by consuming about 30 grams of carbohydrates.

If your competition is longer than an hour, or very strenuous then you must re-fuel during exercise. Train your body to take in sports drinks, gels or snacks during exercise, and have foods/fluids available during exercise breaks.

My favorite pre-workout snack is low-fat chocolate milk, or hummus with crackers.

What are your favorite pre-workout, pre-competition meals or snacks?

I will focus on post-competition nutrition in a later post!  🙂


1 Comment

  1. Melissa says:

    Aw, our half marathon picture. I can’t get up 4hrs before races because then I wouldn’t get to sleep but, what I do now before races (and have seen an improvement in how I feel) is I have a protein bar about an hour and a half before (right as I wake up) with a bottle of water that I sip until race time. I also have a gel PRE race…this was the new step and I think it helped because I drink caffeine every day but didn’t want to before a race…now I have energy. My third thing I sort of found by accident. I ran a half in Madison that was delayed an hour and a half and they gave out rice krispy treats and I felt so good at the race that I now try to sneak one of those in before a race…so bar, gel, and rice krispy treat (and water). I feel like I have more even energy in the races now.