Fueling for Race Day!

Whether you are a world-class runner or walking 3.1 miles for the first time in months, what you put into your body leading up to race day is important. As you prepare for the 38th annual Ohio Valley Hospital and Kennedy Township 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, May 11, 2019, it is important to stick to meal planning that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

First, do not skip meals! Running or walking on an empty stomach can lead to fatigue, possible sickness or even injury. According to Susan Zikos, Ohio Valley Hospital’s Outpatient Dietitian, “A healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, high fiber carbohydrates and beans and legumes should give a person the nutritional edge they need to successfully complete the race and improve their general well-being.”

The Night Before

According to Active.com, many runners assume that a “carbo load” of huge plates of pasta leading up to race day is the best way to get results. However, what you are really doing is consuming more carbohydrates than what your body can properly breakdown before an 8 am race. Having too much food in the stomach can slow you down and even make you sick. Eating light snacks is actually a better choice; providing your body with enough energy to compete.

So what should you eat the night before? Fitness Magazine recommends that you eat a meal of Lean Beef, which is full of iron, or wild salmon, made up of heart-healthy Omega-3 fats.

Best Day Of, Pre-Race Choices

On race day (remember, May 11!), if you have not pre-registered, please arrive between 6:30 am – 7:45 am. If you have already signed up, arrive prior to road closures at 7:45 am. Either way, make time to eat breakfast prior to the race. Susan says the time to eat some carbohydrates is right before you compete.

“The focus here is on simple, easy-to-digest carbohydrates, like a banana or English muffin with jam, think 200 to 300 calories.” At the starting line, there will be plenty of bananas and oranges to help runners avoid cramping. There will also be specially made energy bars courtesy of Ohio Valley Hospital Chef Tom DeGori. Get one early as they run out quickly!


            It is not just important to eat well; you must remember to stay hydrated. According to Runnersworld.com, participants want to show up to the race having had plenty of fluids. That means you should be sipping water minutes before the race begins.

With our 38th annual 5K kicking off at 8 am, those lower morning temperatures should help you stay hydrated. There will be two water stations located on the 1st and 2nd miles of the race for participants in need of a break or a drink while dashing past.


After your race comes to a close, it’s going to be important to replenish your body with plenty of electrolytes. Powerade will be plentiful at our after party along with tunes provided by DJ Stormin’ Norman. We will also have chips, delivering salt that can help you avoid muscle cramping;  bagels, for those post-race carbohydrates you are craving;  and donuts as a reward for your hard work.

Eating the right foods and sticking to a meal plan will make your race more enjoyable. We hope these tips help you better prepare for the Ohio Valley Hospital / Kennedy Township 5K on May 11. We look forward to seeing you there! To register go to our website.