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Nutrition Before the Run

Did you know that taking care of your nutrition is as important as your training for the run? You need to fuel your body with the right type of foods and drinks to meet the nutritional requirements.1,2 Let’s help you plan your nutrition well and bring out your best.

5 golden rules


Ensure to follow a high-quality meal plan in order to get the required nourishment till the event and after. Here are a few nutrition musts you need to consider as the finale approaches.

5 days before the race

Plan your calories with a well-balanced meal plan. Load enough carbohydrates into your body as they provide ample calories. Rich sources of carbohydrates include whole grain breads, millets, pastas, etc. In addition, don’t forget to get enough protein from foods such as milk, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, pulses and legumes.

3 days before the race

Try to increase the amount of carbohydrate intake to 6 to 10 g/kg body weight. For example, if your weight is 75 kg, you need to take 450 to 750 g/day. Don’t forget to include proteins in your meal. You need to take 1 to 1.6 g/kg body weight. For example, if your weight is 75 kg, you need to take 75 to 120 g/day.

48 hours before the race

Continue on the high-carbohydrate diet but try to avoid high-fibre foods such as cereals, pulses, green leafy vegetables and some fruits. Make sure to eat easy-to-digest foods such as bananas, brown rice and bread, yogurt, energy bars in the right quantity.

24 hours before the race

Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to keep yourself hydrated. Try to eat foods that make your stomach comfortable and feel lighter. Do not try any new food on the day of the race or the day before.3 Carbo-loading before the day of run helps delay energy depletion and keeps you get going. Here is an example of a meal plan for a person weighing 68 kg.

1 Banana 2 cups pasta Potato
3/4 cup rolled oats 3/4 cup tomato sauce 2 slices of bread
1 whole wheat bread Sports drink (~600 mL) 1 unit grilled chicken
2 tablespoons peanut butter Sports drink (~600 mL)
Chocolate milk (~350 mL)

18 hours before the race

Try to eat small meals every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid fried, fatty, salty foods and milk products after lunch; also, eat light and easy-to-digest foods. Stay hydrated with adequate water and electrolytes.

4 hours and less

Have a light breakfast with simple carbohydrates such as cereals with milk, fruits, sports gel or drink, a banana or a granola bar.

Slowly start building up your fluid levels with water and electrolytes 2 hours before the race to stay hydrated. Avoid carbohydrates 1 hour before the race.

A sample breakfast plan 2 to 4 hours before your race
1 cup oatmeal cooked with 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp. honey
1 sliced banana
1/3 cup raisins
29 mL sports drink

Get enough rest and don’t panic. Try to give your best and enjoy the race. All the best!

1. Training guide [Internet]. [Cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from:

2. Marathon nutrition [Internet]. [Cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from:

3. Jeukendrup AE. Nutrition for endurance sports: Marathon, triathlon, and road cycling. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(S1):S91-9.

4. National Institute of Nutrition. Dietary Guidelines for Indians A Manual [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from:

5. Nutrient requirements and recommended dietary allowances for Indians. A Report of the Expert Group of the Indian Council of Medical Research [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from:

6. Nutrition strategies: fueling your body for race day [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2016 Apr 27]. Available from:

7. Christensen K, Lindberg J. Carbohydrate and fluid requirements for endurance runners [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2016 Apr 28]. Available from: