What to eat to prepare for a 3 km, 5 km, 10 km?

Nutrition & Well-Being
04 October 2022Hubert Cormier, PhD in Nutrition

Before any physical exercise, it is important to make sure you have enough energy to achieve the goals you have set for yourself: pleasure, competition, endurance, improvement, etc. Besides the intensity of the effort, the distance is a factor to consider when planning meals or pre-workout snacks. So, what to eat to prepare well for a 3 km, 5 km, or 10 km?

In any case, pre-workout meals or snacks should always contain a high proportion of simple carbohydrates. Indeed, these are easy to digest and will give you energy quickly. It is also important to limit your consumption of fibre, protein, and fat, since these are more difficult to digest and could cause intestinal discomfort and even cramps.

For 3 km
A 3 km run can be completed in 15-20 minutes, while a hike of the same duration takes around 30-40 minutes. As these outings are quite short, no special preparation regarding food is required.

That said, if it's been a few hours since your last meal and your stomach starts to rumble, a snack is in order. Just make sure it's high in carbohydrates. For example, half a banana or fresh fruit would be excellent choices to avoid the feeling of hunger which is rather unpleasant during physical exercise. The carbohydrates ingested will also help regulate blood sugar levels, while preventing fatigue!

For 5 km
A person who runs/jogs regularly can very well manage a 5 km in more or less 30 minutes. So, since this exercise is fast, the same advice as a run or a 3 km hike can be applied.

That said, a 5 km hike can take up to an hour. So, to make sure you have enough energy for that 60-minute workout, the best solution would be to eat something light within 30 minutes of your ride. Here too, carbohydrates are to be preferred. For example, toast with blueberry jam prepared with Bon Matin® No Sugar, No Fat Added Multigrain Bread or Bon Matin® No Sugar, No Fat Added Whole Grain White Bread is a perfect example of a snack.

For 10 km
A 10 km run, or hike is a longer outing. Indeed, it can last more than an hour for the majority of athletes. So, before starting this longer exercise, it is important to fill up on energy. Otherwise, you risk running out of energy and missing your goals if they are performance-based.

In this case, it is recommended to eat a light meal before your exercise. Of course, carbohydrates will still be featured, but a moderate amount of protein is also important to ensure optimal performance. This way, your meal will sustain you throughout your run or hike and cravings won't interfere with your training. Here, a grilled cheese sandwich made with Bon Matin® No Sugar No Fat Added Protein Loaf accompanied by a serving of fruit smoothie is a perfect example of a pre-workout snack to be consumed 3 to 4 hours before your prowess! For variation, a pasta, orzo or quinoa salad accompanied by fresh fruit would be good choices.

Moreover, a larger meal before such an exercise is rather inadvisable. In fact, too much fat just before a run or hike could cause gastrointestinal discomfort. In addition, fibre intake should be moderate, and alcohol should be avoided before any sporting activity.

Also, for any physical exercise, whether short or long, water consumption is essential. Indeed, you will inevitably lose a certain amount of water through perspiration. It is therefore important to prepare for this fluid loss by drinking plenty of water before exercising, up to 2 cups (500 ml) at the previous meal. In short, this will allow you to be adequately hydrated and will optimize your physical performance. In the case of an outing of more than an hour, the consumption of a homemade or commercial sports drink is strongly recommended to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat, including sodium.

So, with all these tips, on your marks, get set… eat! Bon Matin® No Sugar, No Fat Added breads are a source of energy to help you accomplish your favorite fall activities: running, biking in national parks, hikes on colorful trails, urban jogging, canicross in the forest or simply active chores like picking up leaves with the family!