Track and field nutrition

Track and field nutrition: What to eat before and after a meet

In track and field, nutrition plays a pivotal role in an athlete's performance and recovery. The right food choices can provide the energy needed for a meet and aid in faster recovery afterward. This blog post will explore the essential dietary strategies for track and field athletes, focusing on what to eat before and after a meet.

Fueling Up: Pre-Meet Nutrition

Eating the right foods before a meet is crucial for maintaining energy levels and optimizing performance.

Key Components of Pre-Meet Nutrition:

  • Carbohydrates: Your main energy source. Opt for complex carbs like whole grains, oats, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Protein: Important for muscle repair and prevention of muscle breakdown. Include lean proteins such as chicken, fish, eggs, or plant-based alternatives like tofu or legumes.
  • Hydration: Proper hydration is essential. Drink water or sports drinks to maintain electrolyte balance.
  • Timing: Have your main meal 3-4 hours before the event to allow time for digestion. A small, carbohydrate-rich snack 30 minutes to an hour before the event can provide a quick energy boost.

Example Pre-Meet Meals:

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana and a side of scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch/Dinner: Grilled chicken with brown rice and steamed vegetables.

Snack Ideas:

  • Fruit like bananas or apples.
  • Granola bars or a small portion of nuts.

Recovery: Post-Meet Nutrition

After competing, the right nutrition helps your body to recover, rebuild muscle tissues, and replenish energy stores.

Key Components of Post-Meet Nutrition:

  • Protein: Crucial for muscle recovery. Include a good source of protein in your post-meet meal.
  • Carbohydrates: Help replenish glycogen stores. Choose whole grains, fruits, or even simple carbohydrates for quicker absorption.
  • Electrolytes: Replenishing lost salts is important. Consider sports drinks or foods with sodium and potassium.
  • Timing: Try to eat within 30 minutes after the event for maximum recovery benefits.

Example Post-Meet Meals:

  • A protein shake with a banana.
  • A turkey and avocado sandwich on whole-grain bread.

Maintaining Balanced Nutrition

Consistently eating a balanced diet is key for track and field athletes. Include a variety of foods to ensure you're getting all the necessary nutrients. Pay attention to portion sizes and the timing of your meals to align them with your training and meet schedules.


For track and field athletes, nutrition is as important as physical training. By carefully planning your meals and snacks around your meets, you can ensure optimal performance and quick recovery. Remember, individual needs can vary, so it's beneficial to work with a nutritionist or dietician to tailor a diet plan to your specific requirements and goals. With the right fuel in your body, you're setting the stage for success on the track.

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