The Scroggin

Just Trail Running

Nutrition Before an Event: What to Eat and Drink Before, During, and After

Before, during and after a trail running event it is important to understand how to fuel your body correctly. What foods are best to eat the night before. What foods are best to eat the morning of. What foods are best to eat during an event. What foods are important to eat at the end of the day.

What to Eat the Night Before

Protein is a great source of energy and is great if you do not consume it in the morning. You can make this really simple by having boiled eggs and a few pieces of bacon. You can add this to a salad for the entire day and still be fine. This is a great source of lean protein to consume before a long run. Sports drinks are great to consume before an event. If you are interested in consuming more carbs and will not use any carbs in the evening you can have a sweet potato. It is very easy to prepare. Just boil it and have it with a little bit of butter and honey. When eating bananas or any other fruit during the night I would suggest that you eat a banana first and then a small apple. In the morning before your event consider having some almonds, a boiled egg, and some unsalted popcorn.

What to Eat the Morning of

Most runners wake up at their normal time in the morning. Before going to bed the night before, consume 300-500 mg of sodium in order to maintain normal blood pressure. It is also important to have a night of rest after a long run before a big event to be ready for the next day. For breakfast, eat a whole grain breakfast cereal. Consider Quaker Oatmeal or Honey Nut Cheerios. Also try some eggs, avocado, and lean meats. You can also add some peanut butter and banana slices. You can also eat some fruit such as cantaloupe and strawberries. However, this should not be eaten prior to an event. For a longer race you should stick to a clean, healthy diet. If you want to start eating that way, you can do so about three days prior to the race.

What to Eat During an Event

The type of food you choose to eat is going to depend on your goal. Are you training for a half marathon? A marathon? Or a trail running event? What type of events will you be doing? If you are going to be doing a short run on flat trails I recommend a gel or an energy bar. If you are going to be doing a trail race it may be best to eat a granola bar, slice of banana, half a sandwich or a bagel. What to Eat Immediately After an Event In the hours following your race I recommend eating some form of carbs or a carb packed meal. This food should be something small and easily digestible. This will be your fuel to help you recover from your race. For a trail marathon, it might be a slice of bread with peanut butter, or a chicken breast, some turkey, veggie and hummus.

What to Eat After an Event

The post-race meal can be one of the most important parts of a successful event. When fueling your body, make sure to eat whole, nutrient rich foods. Not just good calories, but the right ones. This can be tricky for some people, especially after a road marathon. You have been running a marathon in a pack for 6 + hours. How are you supposed to make it from aid station to aid station without a whole lot of calories? To help some of my most successful athletes, I wrote my new book “The Ultimate Athlete’s Guide to Nutrition and Training” with Dan John. It’s a one-stop shop that guides you through all aspects of nutrition and training. I break down all of the exercises I teach my athletes into simple instructions and provide easy-to-follow nutrition guidelines for my athletes to follow.


Preparing for and running a trail running event can be fun and rewarding. This information helps you to prepare for your upcoming event. All information and advice is intended as general information only. You should always consult a doctor before starting any new exercise program.

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