Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tips For Pre-Race Meal Planning

A good bit of my long distance races take place out of town, which means we have to be a little creative in our meal planning with travel.

One tip my running coach gave us was never eat something "new" the night before a race. I agree with her completely, but when you're visiting a new place, how is that possible?

There's a couple of areas you can (almost) never go wrong with in my opinion, and that's pizza and pasta. Notice I said almost...

For me, I mostly stick with pizza as a pre-race meal. I know that most of the time, it's going to be delicious, it doesn't upset my stomach, and it's a crowd pleaser, so I know those in my travel party will like it too!

When visiting Walt Disney World, we've had dinner the night before the Princess Half at Via Napoli and it was amazing!

Pre-Race Meal

No, we didn't consume this GIANT pizza ourselves - we ate here with friends! I also don't recommend over-stuffing yourself the night before a race, especially with something like pizza. Another tip our running coach gave us was to watch for trigger foods (like too much cheese) that might cause  a runner to get stuck in the "K-John" aka port-a-potties immediately before a race. Now, it's ok to have to potty before a race, but you definitely don't want to be stuck in there forever, especially if the race is about to start!

Pre-Race Meal

Another pre-race favorite at Walt Disney World is the Port Orleans Riverside food court! They have an awesome pasta selection that works great for pre-race carb loading!

While doing research for this blog post, I discovered that pizza is indeed my true pre-race meal. Take New Orleans for example. Every time we run Rock n Roll New Orleans, we stop by this awesome little hole in the wall pizza restaurant and enjoy a delicious pizza.

Pre-Race Meal

This place has changed names over the years (I believe it's called Outlaw pizza now), but the taste hasn't changed one bit! It's still delicious and still does the trick as a great pre-race meal!

If you're visiting a new town for a race weekend, I highly recommend finding a restaurant and calling ahead for reservations. In our experience, when thousands and thousands of runners flood a town like New Orleans, all of the restaurants end up with 2 hour long waits by dinner time. We've had very good luck calling ahead of time and booking a reservation which means we've eaten dinner and are in bed at a decent time the night before a race. With a place like Disney World, if you're looking for an Italian type restaurant, I suggest that you're on the computer or phone at 180 days out from your trip, booking your reservations right then and there. Once race weekend approaches, you won't be able to find any sit-down pasta/pizza restaurants at all (this happened to us for Marathon Weekend this past year). If you do run into this instance, the pasta selection in the food court at Riverside or an in-room pizza delivery at your resort would work out perfect for you! (Or you could always have pizza delivered from off-property...but that would mean breaking the "Disney bubble"...and that's no fun!)

So to recap:
  • never eat something "new" the night before a race
  •  don't over-stuff yourself the night before a race
  •  watch for trigger foods that cause stomach upset - you don't want to spend the entire morning of your race in a port-a-pottie
  • if a restaurant needs reservations, book early - especially if it's a race weekend where thousands of runners are coming to town

Tuesdays on the Run

It's the Tuesdays On The Run Linkup with ErikaMarcia and Patty


  1. I don't eat much the night before a race cuz I am so worried about the possible side effects ( having to stop at port o potties), but you can rarely go wrong with pasta!

    I save the "special meal" where i might want to try a certain restaurant for after the race!

    1. I like that, too...saving the special meal for after the race. We kinda do that, too! Haha!

  2. I tend to eat pasta more often than pizza before a race, but that's more out of habit than anything.

  3. Pizza is my go-to night before meal as well. Except for one time when it was extra greasy, it has served me well. Thanks for linking!

  4. Great tips! I always stick to what I know works: pizza is always a good choice for me!

  5. You can never go wrong with pizza before a race.

  6. Pizza and pasta are my go to pre race meals as well. I mean if you can't eat your favorites before a race, when can you?? :)

  7. I say pizza, pasta, or something light with chicken. I was happy to hit up the Cheesecake Factory in Disneyland because there's a chicken piccata dish I get all the time when I eat at CF.


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