The Training Diet Leading Up to the Event: Practice What You Eat

Your day to day training diet leading up to an event is where you figure out what, when and how much you will eat and drink at the actual event. The purpose is to understand how timing and combinations of foods and fluids work for YOU. The following goals and guidelines will help set you up for a successful and effective training diet.


Beginning each session well fuelled and hydrated will allow for quality training sessions. Your training demands will dictate your fuel and hydration requirements. For example, if you are training for a marathon you will need to base your food and fluid intake on the length of the training session. Long runs will use up more fuel compared to shorter runs.

When eating a meal 3-4 hours before running have a high carbohydrate meal that is lower in fat and has a small to moderate amount of protein.

* Tuna melt sandwich + fruit salad + yogurt and water

* Chicken salad sandwich + veggie sticks + chocolate milk

* Bagel with peanut butter and honey + low fat milk

Consider a small snack 30-60 minutes before you head out to top up carbohydrate stores and ensure you are adequately hydrated.

* Fruit smoothie made with low fat milk

* Graham crackers + sports drink

* Jam sandwich + water

Carbohydrate loading benefits those in endurance sports by super saturating carbohydrate muscle stores. The purpose is to delay the onset of fatigue. Typically the training is tapered while carbohydrate food sources increase. The carbohydrate loading phase only needs to occur 2-3 days prior to the actual event.


Everyone is a little different when it comes to what and how much food and fluid you consume while exercising. Fuelling and hydrating during endurance exercise that lasts longer than one hour requires the proper timing and mix of carbohydrates, fluids and electrolytes. Too little fluid or too many carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, cramping and other intestinal issues. That is why practicing in training is key to getting to the finish line on competition day.

Drinking only water is adequate for sessions that are 60 minutes or less. When training for 90 minutes or longer aim for 2-3 gulps of fluid every 15-20 minutes and 30-60 grams of a carbohydrate source per hour. Sports drinks, gels, low fibre bread with honey, bananas and low fat cereal bars are examples of what can be consumed in a training sessions.


The post-training snack/meal is mandatory! Your body is primed to replenish glucose stores in the 30 minutes following your training. A balanced meal or snack including carbohydrate, protein and fluids will help refuel and rehydrate adequately.

A major reason for poor performance in exercise is dehydration. Weighing yourself before and after your training sessions can help determine your individual fluid losses and how much you need to drink to recover. For every pound you lose in your training session aim to drink 3 cups of fluid to start the re-hydration process.

Some examples of recovery meals or snacks containing the three essentials of carbohydrate, protein and fluid include…

* Chocolate milk

* Fruit and yogurt smoothie

* Whole wheat pita with turkey and veggies + low fat milk

* Stir fry with lean beef, broccoli, carrots, peppers + whole wheat past and juice or water

Making it to the finish-line will require that you practice in training what you will eat and drink for the day of your event. You can start your individualized plan by making sure you recovery with chocolate milk. It is the perfect post-exercise snack as it includes the three essentials of carbohydrate, protein and fluid. Bookmark to get updates, event details and all the latest news from the original recovery drink.


* SNAC (Sport Nutrition Advisory Committee) Nutrition Fact Sheet September 2008. From Training Diet to Meal Plans.

* Eating for recovery. Nutrition Fact Sheet, issue 1, April 2009. Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition. American Dietetic Association.

* Burke, L and Cox, G. The complete guide to food for sports performance: peak nutrition for your sport. 2010.