5 foods to avoid before a race

If you’ve suffered mid-race gastrointestinal (GI) problems, steer clear of these five common irritants the day before and on race morning, advises Renee McGregor, sports dietitian and author of Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success.

1/ Berries

Most fruits are high in fibre and so caution is advised – but berries are particularly easy to over-consume. Raspberries contain 8g of fibre per 125g serving, compared with 3g in a medium banana.

2/ Vegetables

Fruit and veg add bulk to your diet, which is undesirable pre-race, but the brassica family – e.g. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale – is particularly fibrous and so best avoided on race eve.

3/ Coffee

While many runners swear by their regular cup of strong, energising coffee prior to a race, it increases stomach acid levels, exacerbates reflux and acts as a laxative in 30-40 per cent of people.

4/ Red meat

Because it has a higher fat and protein content than poultry, red meat takes a lot longer to digest, which could cause stomach distress on race day. So it’s probably best to skip that big, juicy sirloin steak.

5/ Dried fruit

It’s a great source of carbs (and, therefore, easily accessed energy) and minerals, but also high in fibre even in small amounts (because it’s highly concentrated), which is associated with more regular bowel movements.