What To Eat Before, During, And After a 10k Race


Today, I’m going to give you a few tips on what to eat for 10k. We’re going to cover what you should eat and drink before, during, and after a 10k race.

Compared to the marathon, a 10k isn’t really a distance where you have to think too carefully about your fueling strategies.

If you’re looking for some great 10k running shoes, make sure you check this article.

What To Eat For 10k Race

Before – Food

Related: What to Eat on Race Day – 27 Expert Runners Share Their Race-Day Breakfast

If you’re going to be running a 10k in under 60 minutes, then you should generally have enough glycogen stored in your liver and muscles to get you around as long as you’ve had a good evening meal the night before.

So, try and have something that’s high in carbohydrates, maybe potatoes, rice, pasta, or something that’s cereal-based.

Also, try and include some lean proteins in that. You don’t need and shouldn’t stick to only carbohydrates for your evening meal.

Try and avoid anything that has too much fat in it like creams, cheese, or anything rich because that can sit quite heavy in your stomach and even cause you to have an upset stomach during the race.

The morning of your race, you should also try and have a meal with a high carbohydrate content.

Try something like porridge with a banana, or bagel with peanut butter. Whatever it is that you have in the morning of your race day, make sure you’ve practiced with it during your training so that you know how your body reacts.

Also, it’s crucial to think about the timing of your breakfast on race day. So, if you’ve been out for your training runs, work out how long you need to leave it from eating before running so that you don’t end up with any stomach issues and also so you don’t run out of energy if you’ve left it too long.

Related: How Can You Prevent A Side Stitch When Running

Before – Hydrate

It’s really important that you go into your race well hydrated and that starts from the day before right into the morning of your race.

So, make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water, especially if it’s going to be a hot day.

Related: Running in the Heat and Humidity  – 14 Effective Tips You Really Need for a Safe Run

Pee Test

The way to check to see whether you’ve drunk enough water or not is to check the color of your wee. Yes, we’re going to talk about your toilet habits.

So, compare your pee color to this chart here. What you’re aiming for is a light straw color.

So, if you’re too hydrated and you drank too much water, you run the risk of going the other end of the scale and you wee will look quite clear.

That can end up flushing out vital sodium from your system and, in extreme, can cause hyponatremia, which is really serious but also luckily very rare.

So, just be very sensible when it comes to hydration.

Try and avoid drinking alcohol as well. That can dehydrate you as well as deplete your glycogen stores. Maybe try and stay off the beers the night before the race.

Related: How To Run Longer Without Getting Tired

Sports Drinks

You can sip sports drinks to help with your hydration and that will also top-up your carbohydrate reserves, too. So, any kind of sports drink on the morning off would be great.

For some people, they prefer to have a kick of energy through a sports drink, but make sure that you do sip them and don’t gulp them right down because if you end up really needing the toilet, then your body will end up producing a hormone that makes you need the toilet more.

Related: What We Waste Time On During A Race

So, you don’t want to be queuing up for those portaloos too many times on race day.

Also, have a think about how much water you are drinking on the morning of not just for the toilet situation but you don’t want it all sloshing around in your stomach when you go to race.

What To Eat During A 10k Race

During – Food & Hydration

If you’re going to be running for over an hour for your 10k, which is more than a 9.40 per mile pace or 6 minutes per kilometer, then you may want to think about taking some extra energy onboard.

So, something like an energy gel or as we mentioned earlier a sports drink will give you a bit of an extra boost.

But the main thing to think about during your 10k really is water. So, most organized 10k races will have a water station or two along the course and you can check that out before you go.

Practice in training to see if you do need to take on extra water during the race as well.

And be aware that if you’re running and carrying a bottle, that can weigh down the side that you’re carrying is.

So, you might want to think about other strategies for training other than carrying a bottle.

If it’s a hot day, then you’re more likely to need to take on extra water than if it’s cold.

Related: Glossary of Common Running Terms

What To Eat After A 10k

After – Food

After the race, your main priority is to recover. During hard exercise, our muscles suffer from tiny micro-tears.

So, a good way for these to recover is to have foods with high protein content in. A really simple and easy way to get protein in after you’ve had a race is to have a pre-mixed protein shake for example.

You can also get the ones where the powder is set for it to the water and then you can mix that yourself.

If you don’t like protein shakes, then you can try something different. You can try Greek yogurt with a high protein content, eggs and omelets, and that kind of thing.

If you’ve gone to a race, you might be with your friends and you might choose to go out for dinner.

So, try and pick something off the menu with a high protein content to help you recover.

After – Hydrate

After the race, don’t gulp down loads of water straight away. Just little sips will do. You’ll only be able to rehydrate gradually over the next 24 to 48 hours anyway. So, gulping down loads of water isn’t going to top up what you’ve just lost.

Hopefully, there’s loads of tips there that will help see you through your fueling for your next 10k before, during, and after.

But, remember the best thing to do is practice with all of them during training. Not one thing will work for everybody and you can work out what’s best for you.

If you’ve got any tips leave us a comment below and we’ll see you next time.

About Eric Barber

Eric Barber is a happy father of two little angels, a husband, and a runner. He eats, sleeps, and dreams anything foot related: running shoes, walking shoes, sneakers, you name it. It all started when Eric was a shoe store specialist watching and fitting people's feet day in and day out.

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