“What you eat prior to a race can affect your performance,” says Tracy Stolle, Fitness 24-7 personal trainer. “You want to feel the best you can on race day. We cannot control the weather for race day but we can control or training and what we put in our bodies!”
Here are some top tips Tracy gives on what to eat before a race:
1) Don’t try new food before the race. When running a race of any distance you never want to try something new and eat something completely different than you normally do. You don’t know how your body will react to eating something new.
2) Eat a healthy meal the night before to ensure enough energy to preform and feel well during the race but also so that the body can start to repair well post race. Your body will start metabolizing and storing vitamins and nutrients within 12 to 24 hours prior to a race so it is very important to have a well balance meal the night before. The best meal to have the evening before includes a protein, grain and fresh (green) veggies with a lot of water. Eat as clean as possible while avoiding additional salt, preservatives and fats. An example of a good meal is grilled chicken breast, brown rice or quinoa, broccoli, water or coconut water and Powerade®. Do not overeat the night before a race.
ALWAYS keep in mind that hydration is extremely important for ANY distance!
3) The morning of a half or full marathon breakfast is important but keep it light and simple. This will prevent digestive issues right before or during the race. For example: Oatmeal with a banana, an egg white or a smoothie including bananas, oatmeal, peanut butter and any other fruits that you'd enjoy. Sometimes a smoothie is lighter and easier to consume the morning of a race.
4) When running a half or full marathon start focusing on what you’re eating five days prior to race day. As stated in tip number one, never try something new the night before or morning of a race. Keep meals well-balanced the week prior. Don’t forget electrolytes. Drink Powerade® or Gatorade® two days before a race. This will ensure you will consume enough electrolytes your muscles need. Hydrate with water as well.
Include more complex carbohydrates five days prior to race day. Focus on your caloric intake 48 hours before a distance race. Also, eating small meals every two to three hours stores energy.
5) Replenish your body with protein and carbs within 30 to 60 minutes post race. In one hour or two hours post race eat something with more substance. Re-hydrate with water immediately following the race.
6) Start a well balance diet leading up to the race to get your body use to eating these meals. For example, with your long runs (or the same distance as the race) try to eat the same way you would the night before and the morning of the race. This also helps you find out what works well for your body. Everyone is different and you will know what your body can or can’t handle. Don’t experiment with anything new prior to the race or on race day!
Good luck to all the runners! :)