Eating before a big run is absolutely essential, but this doesn’t mean cooking yourself a bowl of pasta is going to do the trick. Of course, this is going to help. You have to have your pre-race meal, but there is so much more to it than that. There is a bigger build up where you actually have to fuel your body, getting ready for the big day. This will send the message to your brain that you are in preparation mode.
Distance Running Nutrition - the Build Up
- If your race is on Sunday, then start hydrating on Saturday. For me, I would even say a couple of days before that. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the day, every day. This is what you should be doing as a runner anyway, but there are so many runners who just ignore this.
- It is what is on your plate that really matters. Looking at the cooking method and the ingredients will give you a well-balanced healthy meal, which will also deal with carbo loading. Marathon running nutrition is one thing, but spare a couple of moments to find out what the every day nutrition should involve. See further down.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/athomeinscottsdale/4342736032/
- You should eat a meal loaded with carbohydrates the night before. Make the whole day your day to put some extra bulk on your plate in terms of carbs. Make sure it is not just carbohydrates, but you have to be eating the right thing. Low-GI foods are great because they store the energy and release it slowly. Don’t go for a pasta that is loaded with creamy sauces.
- Stay away from fats like cream and butter which may normally add on the top of your pasta.
- Keep on drinking water during this time. You should be aiming for at least 1 liter, but you should try to drink 2 liters of water.
- Before you head out on Sunday have a snack. Have something that you are used to. There is no time for experimenting at this stage of the game.
- If you are going to be on the road longer than 60 minutes then you should be stocking up on sports drinks. Plan for this every couple of minutes. If you are not sure whether there will be a point to stock up on this then have someone stand on the route for you. Don’t just drink when you are thirsty. This is vital. You definitely have to plan this.
- Here, it is important to mention about drinking too much. This is something you probably won’t have to deal with, since most runners usually don’t drink too much, but you should be aware of what the happy medium is. Knowing your body is the first step and sticking to a plan of when to actually be drinking and hydrating is another aspect to look at. Hyponatremia is when you drink too much and there is an imbalance with the water in the body and the sodium levels. You will become tired and feel nauseous. It can become really serious so if you are prone to overdoing things then keep this in mind.
- Another thing to opt for is gel carbohydrate replacements which should be taken in with water otherwise you may be feeling uncomfortable in some way or another.
- At the end of the run, recovery and getting back to the norm is equally important. So you should be drinking water as well as sports drinks. Have something to eat as well because this will replace the glycogen that was lost on the run. You will also feel better the next day.
photo credit: flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/3752937440/
Amazon Price: $10.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 30, 2013)
Nutrition for Runners on a Daily Basis
- Stick to a plan. Runners need to start eating like they want to win or they should eat to perform at their best. More and more runners are starting to have this frame of mind, but completely changing what you eat can be difficult. You need to plan ahead, especially in the beginning. Do your shop so that you have everything in the house and draw up a menu, which you can keep on coming back to. Without a plan in mind it is a lot more difficult to fit your diet into your lifestyle.
- Eat more meals more often. When we say eat more, it doesn’t mean a couple of plates loaded with carbohydrates every day. Ultimately, you want to be eating 5 snacks a day. You may find this tough in the beginning, but it really isn’t. I can tell you, since I started doing this I feel a million times better and it has been proven that this type of diet not only improves performance, but is just better overall for you body.
- Try to limit the fat intake to a bare minimum. Fried foods and food containing a lot of butter is never a good idea. Sweet, junk food should also be avoided at all times. You may think you are eating enough carbohydrates, but when it is things like bagels and pizza then you have been misled.
- Drink water – this has been stressed time and time again. Water does so much for us. It is not only runners that should be drinking water, but everyone. It may be tough to get used to in the beginning, but you can start by squeezing in an orange or lemon to help. It’s just a matter of time before you get used to it, but it is something that you should persevere with.
- You won’t need to be taking any pills for vitamins if you find them in the form of real fresh fruit and vegetables. One of your meals or snacks every day can be a piece of fruit. Fruit actually stops that craving for sugar and it is here where you get your essential vitamins and minerals. With that also comes fiber.