Hydrate before a race to prevent injury.

Fueling for a race

On your mark, get set, go! As you prep for summer 5Ks and road races, here are a few things to remember:

Stay hydrated

Staying well hydrated prevents injury. Drink water at least one hour before the event.

The amount of water you need to drink is individual based on how much you sweat and how intense your activity is. A good rule to follow is: drink enough that you do not have issues with fatigue, your urine is clear and you are drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day. If possible, drink during the event. Weigh yourself before your event and again after. Replace, ounce for ounce, the fluid lost.

Fuel before

Look to healthy carbohydrates to top off muscle stores. Keep the fiber and fat levels low. Hydrate, eat a balanced snack three to four hours prior to exercise, and a small, high-carbohydrate snack 30-60 minutes before your event.

“The intensity and duration of the event are the most important factors to determining what to eat and drink prior to an athletic event,” said Community Health Network registered dietitian, Robin Stahl. "If you’re just getting started with exercise, water and a small snack with do. If you are at a higher level you may want to eat more prior to exercise – experiment with different amounts and types of food.”


3-4 hours before event

  • Peanut butter and honey on toast, instant breakfast drink
  • Low-fat cottage cheese, apple butter, crackers, fresh grapes
  • Turkey and swiss sandwich, fruit, sport drink

30-60 minutes before event

  • Jam sandwich and water
  • Sports beverage or water
  • Sports gel, bar or gummies

Recover after

Recovering 15-60 minutes after an event is very important. The first priority is to restore fluid and electrolytes (i.e., sodium and potassium) lost in sweat. Drink water or a sport drink that is limited to between 50 and 80 calories per ounce. The second priority is rebuilding muscle tissue by consuming protein.


  • Yogurt and frozen berry smoothie
  • Sports drink and sport bar
  • Graham crackers with peanut butter, low fat chocolate milk and a banana