Alas, October is behind us, which means a little less than a month to go before the Santa Shuffle! santa-shuffle.jpg

I haven’t done much training, but am rather interested in knowing how to optimize nutrition for performance…ok, confession: it’s only 5k, so hardly anything to worry about!

Nonetheless, just out of curiosity, I asked a couple of our nutrition professors for some sports nutrition tips:

  • Nutrition: for a 5k race, there’s not much to it. Basically, eat well (balanced diet) throughout the day (as one should every day) and keep well hydrated. No need for any special supplements or dietary products.
  • Hydration: some things to consider are 1) climate, and 2) distance. Given that this run will be in December (i.e., not humid) and it’s only 5k, runners need not be too concerned about appropriate hydration. Sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade) are also (likely) not required.

However, anything more than 5k that requires intensive training and involves considerable loss of body water (i.e., through sweating) would require careful hydration. Dr. Susan Barr in our faculty recommends reading up on the American College of Sports Medicine’s stand on Exercise and Fluid Replacement.

Basically, it’s very difficult to give a single, general recommendation for hydration in sports, since every individual loses body water at different rates, depending on a variety of factors – pages 384 and 385 of the above article has some handy tables to give readers an idea of water loss for runners, depending on body weight and climate. Again, every athlete/runner is different.

That said, be sure to hydrate yourself ~ 4 hrs prior to activity. Rule of thumb: if your urine is dark, you can drink a little bit more up to 2 hrs before the event. During activity: for me, I probably won’t need to worry too much…drink periodically as opportunities allow. After exercise: for me, I would simply consume my regular amount of fluid and food. Note that while dehydration (not the severe type) may cause decreased performance in most athletes, be careful not to over-hydrate yourself as that could lead to serious illness.

And of course, never start a training program without consulting your doctor or getting sound advice from a certified trainer! SportMedBC is also an excellent resource for sports-related information. I used their Beginning Runner’s Handbook when I was first starting out and found it absolutely helpful!

If you have any tips or advice, by all means, please leave a comment!

Good luck out there and stay healthy!


(*Santa Shuffle picture from