The Izzo Legacy Run/Walk: How to fuel for a 5K


Saturday, April 13 is just around the corner and the excitement cannot be contained! Ever since registering for the Izzo Legacy 5K walk/run, sponsored by Auto-Owners, you have been dreaming of jogging down the banks of the Red Cedar River and celebrating the longest-tenured basketball coach in the Big Ten Conference: Tom Izzo. 

In preparation for this very special event, you may have found yourself committing to a few more cardio days each week. You may have also started memorizing the MSU fight song and  mentally preparing with what you would say if you just so happened to “run” into the man himself on race day! Oftentimes, race participants are wrapped up in so many race day details, that they forget how important fuel is. 

From pre-race breakfast to post-race grub, the experts at Playmakers have this brief outline of the best ways to fuel Spartans on April 13.

One of the most important components of feeling, “race-ready,” is to have a well balanced breakfast propelling you through your morning. Upon waking up, be sure to begin hydrating ASAP. Water > coffee. Your heart may have dropped reading that, however, water should be your first priority when you wake up.  Don’t worry, coffee can still be a great attribute on race morning, but only if you know your stomach can handle it! Which reminds me, race morning is NOT the time to switch up your typical breakfast routine. In fact, consume only the foods that you know work well with your body. Keep in mind that every body is different and requires fuel in various ways. Providing your body with quick carbs that produce energy, right away, is key.

Three race day breakfast ideas are:

  1. Oatmeal
  2. Higher calorie granola bar (Epic Bar, Lara Bar, Picky Bar, Cliff)
  3. Toast with peanut butter and a banana

When it comes to breakfast, be sure to consider timing. Wake up early enough to fully digest a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of joe before hitting the start line. In contrast, consider the amount of time that you will have from the time you wake up, to the time you will begin running. This may be more time than anticipated. Packing snacks or eating a few smaller-sized meals may be the right route for you!

You’ve done it! You finished! 
The 5K was full of celebration, fellow Spartans, and historic MSU landmarks. The medal is around your neck and you’re feeling accomplished. Now there’s only one thing on your mind: Crunchy’s burger and fries. 
As delicious as this may sound, it is imperative to properly fuel BEFORE you hit Grand River Avenue for grub. One of the biggest mistakes racers make following a race is giving in to cravings. After physical exertion, ours bodies naturally crave sodium and glucose. Immediately following the race, it is wise to intake simple carbs to restock glycogen stores. Examples of simple carbs would be a piece of fruit, applesauce or chocolate milk. Within an hour, your body will require protein for muscle repair. According to Runners World, “Right after the race, you want to aim for 4:1 carbs-to-protein. There’s no fat in that ratio.” Some examples of quick protein sources are yogurt, peanut butter or trail mix.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself to a hot dog later on at the Spring Game. However, the first foods you consume post-race matter MOST. Once you have had carbs and proteins, treating yourself is A-OK. Overall, the most important thing to remember is: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Following the race, drink lots of water and beware of high-sugar sports drinks. Brands like NUUN, Scratch and UCANN are great alternatives to the traditional sports beverage. 


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