What you eat before a race is one of the most important parts for your performance. It sounds simple really: if you eat well, you will do well.

That is, until you factor in the fact that you are a high school student, you literally have 5 dollars to your name, and cafeteria lunches are typically not the healthiest. I tried to document all of my meals leading up to my big race day, and here is the product.


cream, sweet, chocolate, cake, candy
Kristina Clarke

Monday was rough. I tried to stay conscious of the fact that I had a race that weekend, but it was Labor Day, and I wanted to celebrate with my family.

I slept-in, and skipped breakfast. Once I finally got up, I went out, and ate Mexican food with my family. For dinner, I had Chick-fil-A, and although it isn't healthy, it still tasted like heaven.


corn, soup, scrambled, cheese
Kristina Clarke

I would love to say that eating healthier got easier when I got back to school, but that would be a lie.

I go to a residential school, which means I live on campus during the school week. I ate breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria on this day. For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs, grits, and a banana. Literally the breakfast of champions.

I had to have a quick lunch, so a veggie burger and half a sweet potato sufficed. I then had a University of Alabama informational talk that night, so dinner consisted of fruit kabobs, bread, and cheeses. Not exactly the BEST pre-race meal day, but hey, food is food.


chicken, cheese
Kristina Clarke

Honestly, I ate the same exact thing for breakfast as I did yesterday. I added a coffee, which may have been a bad idea, but I think it was the only thing that got me through our distance workout later that day.

My mom came and picked me up for lunch, and we went to Mediterranean Sandwich Company, which is a local business. I got a veggie gyro and shared the spinach orzo with her.

For dinner, I tried to begin carb-loading by incorporating pasta and a roll in with my usual salad-and-a-cookie combo. All and all, it was a pretty solid day of eating. I ate what I liked, and liked what I ate.


Kristina Clarke

T'was the day before the race, and I still wasn't making incredibly healthy meal decisions. For breakfast, I had a bowl of new-to-me cereal, Golden Grahams, in a pool of soy milk. Lunch consisted of a veggie burger, fries, grapes, and a cookie.

Dinner was... interesting. I had three fried Oreos and some fruit for dinner. I have #noshame about what I ate on this day, but I am concerned about how I will fare tomorrow on race day.


bacon, chocolate, butter, peanut butter, peanut
Kristina Clarke

It's finally race day! I was more excited about not having actual Cross Country practice this day and skipping class more than I was about the actual meet. For breakfast, I kept it simple: eggs, grapes, and a muffin. Now, lunch on the other hand, I went buck-wild. Carbs galore. I had veggie lasagna and two rolls. Last minute carb-loading is my passion.

The meet was this evening in the 4:00 pm heat, so I tried to stay hydrated all day. When the race finally arrived, it was hot. I was dying in the heat, and regretting the fact that I wasn't properly fueled up. 


McKenna Franklin

This experience led me to one conclusion: I really need to start meal planning the week before a race. I did not preform my personal best at the race Friday, and I can accredit some of that to my poor diet leading up to race day.

Let this be a warning for those that don't believe that diet plays an integral part in performance—it does. If you need ideas for what you should eat instead, this article is very helpful.