Race Food Preparation

Diner and breakfast before competition

Par Nicolas Aubineau - 6 minutes de lecture

Difficult to know what food consume the day before a race between the followers pasta « al dente », those of fish, red meat, white (…) but also for breakfast between the commercial cakes sports, unusual breakfasts (…).


Following many requests for fairs, here is what I advocate for dinner the day before a race and breakfast.


You will also find my recommendations on the previous week in the following folder : Modified Dissociated Plan.


The dinner of the previous day will preferably include :

evening meal of race

  • An entry of cooked vegetables ( soup or cooked vegetables accompanied by an oïl and vinegar dressing based on raspeseed oïl, olive, wheat germ or walnuts) ;
  • A low-fat meat (poultry, rabbit, calf, ect .) or a lean fish (hake, monkfish, lieu, cod ect .) ;
  • An incomplete cereal product (rice, pasta, semolina, quinoa, ect);
  • A cooked fruit or compote associated with a lean dairy preferably vegetable (soya, ect) . Avoid uncooked fruits (banana, apple, orange, ect .) as much possible.


Notes : Cooking facilitates the digestion of food ( especially fruits and vegetables). The low fat content of protein products (fish, meat) improves the « gastric emptying »( that is to say the evacuation of the contents of the stomach to the intestine where the absorption of nutrients takes place) And the reduction in the amount of fiber (cereals and cereal products) reduces digestives overloads.


Specifically, it’s possible to establish several menus on the basis of a food plan comprising about 400g of fresh vegetables, 300g of cooked cereal (or equivalent : potato, cooked dry vegetables, cooked ceral products), 2 tablespoons of vegetable oïl. The choice of food will depend on each one.


Example of menu :

  • 250 to 300 ml of hot or cold soup (based on seasonal vegetables)
    200g to + or -50g (cooked weight) of poulty fillet or fish (possibility of accompanying whith black Pepper, turmeric)
  • 300 to 500g (cooked weight 100 to 165g raw) rice, pasta with or without green vegetables, green salad with walnut oïl, olive oïl or rapeseed (2 tablespoons)
  • One to two yogurt(s) (preferably soya) accompanied with a compote without added sugars.


Once this meal is consumed, a walk to digest and a good night will be needed while waiting for breakfast.



breakfast before the raceIn the morning, a large number of sports enthusiasts use préparations such as the sports cake, which allow a so-called « complete » breakfast with only one food.


However, if one refers to the organoleptic aspects (touch, taste, smell), to the « natural » values of the diet, it’s essential to respect certain basic principles which are :

  • Begin the day of the « right side » with the first act essential to the rising: breakfast ;
  • A relaxing moment which the atlete(s) can concentrate and exchange on the characteristics of the race, the tactics to be adopted or, conversely, talk about everything except racing, in order not to raise pressure;
  • Presence of all food on the table improving the visual and taste aspects of the meal;
  • Time devoted to food intake between 20 to 30 minutes taking the time to chew well and salivate, the first key steps of an effective digestibility and thus decrease the risk of gastric disorders.


Thus, I propose several breakfasts as digestes (that can be taken at the hotel or at home according to the place of the race) which make it possible to provide the same and even superior intakes as for a preparation for a cake for the sport of commerce :


Breakfast 1 : (minimum)

  • 100g of bread, half baguette
  • 20g of butter, either two individual trays
  • 30g of honey or jam, or a small pot individual
  • 250ml of black coffee, a large bowl
  • 300ml of pure orange juice, two glasses (or two oranges)
  • 250g of natural yogurts, two units


Breakfast 2 : (normal)

  • 150g of bread, or 3/4 of baguette
  • 30g of sweet butter, either three individual trays
  • 60g of honey or jam, or two small individual pots
  • 250ml of black coffee, a large bowl
  • 300ml of pure orange juice, two glasses (or two oranges)
  • 250g of natural yogurts, two unitsl of black coffee, a large bowl


Breakfast 3 : (maximum)

  • 200g of breag or one baguette
  • 40g of sweet butter, either four individual trays
  • 60g of honey or jam, either two small individuals pots
  • 250ml of black coffee, a large bowl
  • 300ml of pure orange juice, two glasses (or two oranges)
  • 250g of natural yogurts, two units


Notes : You can supplement your breakfast with one or two slices of white ham, defattened and defatted (protein intake, vit B1).


We advise you to drink the orange juice during the breakfast and not at the beginning for reasons of acidity.


Nutritional analyzes of proposed breakfasts

Breakfast 1 Breakfast 2 Breakfast 3
Energy (kcal) 775 1080 1300
Carbohydrates (g) 120 172 201
Protein (g) 22 26 31
Lipid (g) 21 30 39
Calcium (mg) 476 500 521
Magnesium (mg) 105 117 127
Sodium (mg) 884 1244 1604
Potassium (mg) 1322 1408 1474
Citrate (g) 3 3 3
Vitamin B1 (mg) 0.4 0.4 0.5
Vitamin B2 (mg) 0,7 0,8 0,8
Vitamin C (mg) 112 115 115
Vitamin E (mg) 1,1 1,5 1,8
Caffeine (mg) 150 150 150

Role of different nutrients :

  • Carbohydrates : Maintains energy reserves (especially glycongenic)
  • Protides : Maintains tissue structures (including muscles)
  • Lipids : Aid for energy intake
  • Calcium : Helps to anticipate magnesium losses inclued in sweat
  • Potassium : Support for neuromuscular functioning
  • Citrate : Helps to limit muscle acidity
  • Vitamins B1+B2 : Vitamin intake for energy metabolism
  • Vitamins C+E : Antioxidant properties
  • Caffeine : Promotes the use of fat in exercices to delay depletion of glycogen storage.


Compare with what you find in the trade, you are very likely that this breakfast is more quantitative and qualitative on the nutrients. Moreover, the psychological side of being around a table is not to be neglected !


Remember that I have created a house sport cake that has all the benefits of commercial sports cake without the inconvenience and especially a price 3 times cheaper !



First of all, it’s necessary to respect a minimum of three hours between the end of the meal and the beginning of the race, thus allowing the body to regain a state of equilibrium (concerning digestion and assimilation) to start the race and limit the appearance of digestive disorders to the effort.


By following my advice, you will have taken during your last dinner necessary food, at breakfast, all that is necessary to start the day well and with a drink waiting, you will have recharged your body in carbohydrates and électrolytes => you will leave whith all the chances on your side !


In conclusion, it’s quite conceivable to approacha race type marathon Under optimal conditions, from a dietary point of view, adopting simple habits. Have a good race and think about hydrating yourself !


Sports Dietitian Nutritionist


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