Pre-race foods to avoid

Foods you should avoid in the build up to a race

As you prepare for your race, there are a multitude of factors that can impact on your performance. Arguably what you eat and drink pre-race is as important as your training regime. If you aren’t fuelled up correctly then the chances are you won’t threaten your current PB. It can make that big of a difference. To aid you in your race preparation, here are 5 foods you should definitely omit from you pre-race fuelling plan.

Some fruit and vegetables

Of course fruit and veg are great for everyone, regardless of whether they are a runner or not. However, eating certain fruit and veg an hour or two before your race could have an impact on your performance, this is down to particular fruit and veg being high in insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is harder for the body to digest, meaning you expend more energy as your body tries to break it down, it can also leave you feeling bloated, and occasionally cause you to be a little gassy. Broccoli and apples are top candidates to avoid.

If you feel you must eat one of your five a day before your race, opt for something that is lower in fibre such as tomatoes, or a banana.  

Fatty food

These types of food can take an awfully long time to digest, so it’s best you steer clear pre-race. Eat them too near to your race and you could be left feeling full, heavy and lethargic. Instead go for a more protein and carb filled food source. Natural peanut butter is a great option as it’s full of healthy fats and a great source of protein and carbs.

Spicy food

Spicy food has been proven to posses properties that promote fat-burning and they can also give your metabolism a boost. On the other hand, they have also been proven to cause indigestion and heartburn, and in some cases, depending on the spiciness of the dish, they can loosen your bowels. So, unless you want to be clutching your chest or rushing to the toilet mid-race, we suggest you stick to neutral foods that have stood you in good stead during your training.

Fruit Juice

We recommend you avoid fruit juice, not because it’s entirely unhealthy but because it just isn’t an efficient running fuel. Whether it’s labelled 100 percent pure fruit juice or not, it is full of sugar and consequently, calories. Consuming your calories through drinks is inefficient as your body doesn’t register that ‘full’ feeling as easily. Therefore in order to hydrate before your run, opt for water, as nothing hydrates better, and drink it alongside a protein and carb rich snack such as eggs on wholegrain toast.


We’re not saying you should avoid eating beans altogether, they are a great source of healthy protein that can help speed up your body’s recovery. What we do advise is that you steer clear of any beans, or pulses such as quinoa, and lentils, until after you’ve completed your run. Whilst they are protein-rich, they are also very high in fibre, which can cause you a host of problem mid-race. Those who eat high fibre foods pre-race can suffer from bloating, gas, and in some circumstances, diarrhoea, which can also lead to dehydration. 

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