Science in Sport Pre-Race Nutrition Advice



Our body has limited carbohydrate stores to use as energy on race-day. To maximise storage, carbohydrate intake can be increased in the 24-48 hours before race-day. To do this, increase the carbohydrate portion size with each meal, use carbohydrate snacks between meals and drink carbohydrate drinks during the day. Aim for 8-10 g of carbohydrate per kilo body mass per day of your carb-load. The below plan provides an example of how a runner could load with 550g of carbohydrate:

Meal Food Source Carbohydrate
Breakfast 2 cups of cereal, two slices of white toast, thick spread of jam and a glass of fruit juice. 150g
Mid-Morning GO Energy Bake 30g
Lunch 2 toasted bagels, choice of filling 90g
Afternoon 500ml  GO Electrolyte, 1 medium banana 55g
Dinner 2 cups of cooked white pasta, chicken breast, tomato-based sauce, 2 slices of garlic bread 130g
Snack 1 tin of rice pudding + 250ml fruit juice 95g


Breakfast: Have your normal race-day breakfast 1-3 hours before your start time. You should practice this in training through your ‘train as you race’ session, including cereals, toast, jam, fruit juice. Travel, race-day stress and logistics can cause other distractions on the day of your event, so knowing what you’re going to eat and being comfortable with this is going to get you to the start line in the best shape.

Hydration: The morning of your event, have 5-10 ml of fluid per kilo body mass (350-700ml for a 70kg runner) in the hours before starting. This can be split between coffee and fruit juice with breakfast and Hydro as you travel to the event.

Snacking: A pre-race snack can be used as a final carbohydrate source, having a banana or GO Energy Bar30-60 minutes before starting.