How to Fuel Up for the VIDA Thrive 5K

By: Addie Claire Merletti, MS, RD, CSCS

What we eat before and after we exercise is extremely dependent on our individual digestive tracts, sleep habits, and performance goals. I’ll first share what the research states for 5K training and race fueling, and then some suggestions for actual meals and snacks to use before and after. Since we’re talking about a 5K, which takes most folks less than an hour, we don’t need to worry about intra-workout food or fuel.
Our brains and muscles all run on glucose. Glucose is sugar. In a world where carbs are almost socially unacceptable, I know this is scary, but the research supports carbohydrate intake before a race to optimize performance. What this looks like depends on time of day and your body, but in general, about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate will do the trick here. You want to limit fiber and fat as the whole point is to get that glucose to your muscles quickly, and those things will slow it down. They will also have you sprinting for the porta potties.
Many people tell me that they run faster on an empty stomach, or that if they eat before they’ll feel sick. You know your body best, so if you don’t want to eat before a 5K, you certainly don’t need to. Limiting fiber and fat, and spacing the food about an hour from the race start will definitely help with feeling sick. 

Spinach & Mushroom Egg White Bites w/ Sweet Potatoes

Here are some pre-race ideas for a morning race:

For recovery, you want to focus on protein with servings of carbohydrate and fat. Most people need about 20-50 grams of protein after a workout, and optimally would get it within an hour of finishing. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter your goals, running a race is not an excuse to go all YOLO on your meals for the rest of the day. Even if you’re working on gaining lean mass, I’d be willing to bet that bottomless brunch followed by pizza & ice cream is probably not “on the plan.” 

MightyMeals Western Omelet

Here are some post-race ideas:

Register today for the VIDA Fitness 5K on October 12 and use code mighty19 for $5 off!
Meet Addie Claire Merletti, MS, RD, CSCS
AC is originally from Charlotte, NC and got her Bachelor’s degree in both psychology and Spanish at UNC Chapel Hill. She worked in community mental health before going back for her Master’s in Nutrition at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. AC fell in love with sports nutrition while working with the dietitians at Notre Dame University during her intern year. She feels passionately about using balanced nutrition to support a balanced life, and enjoys helping people use food as a tool to bust through plateaus and hit their goals! Addie is always down to try a new workout and absolutely loves to cook and try new foods. She can make lots of fancy dishes, but her favorite food is anything that resembles PB&J. AC is one of four VIDA Fitness Registered Dietitians.
AC’s favorite MightyMeal is the Basil Pesto Chicken & Orzo.

About VIDA Fitness: VIDA is a premiere health and wellness club comprised of six locations all throughout Washington DC. Our gyms boast state-of-art equipment, and uniquely designed spaces to make your workouts both efficient & productive. We offer a wide array of group fitness classes and personal training options to ensure that everyone is comfortable and supported in achieving their fitness goals. VIDA is all about creating community, and making sure everyone who walks in our doors feels like they are part of our family. Please email if you’re interested in learning more about our nutritional counseling services. Connect with VIDA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.