Hours and hours of intense training go into your preparation for marathon, half marathon, 10k and 5K event. When the final day arrives you want to be on top of your game. You want to feel like you’ve done every possible thing to facilitate peak performance. One key element to a fast race on race day is your pre-race nutrition. Eating the right, or wrong foods for that matter, can make a big difference in your running speed.
Pre Race Meal On The Night Before The Race
Two to three days before you race, as you begin to taper your activity, you want to increase your carbohydrate consumption. Of the three macro-nutrients that food are made up of, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will be the best form of energy for you. Carb-loading helps to increase your muscle glycogen stores. Foods such as breads, pastas, and fruits are high in carbohydrates and are best. You should avoid high fiber foods such as, vegetables, beans, and bran-filled grains the day before to lighten the bowel load. The day before the race you should consume 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of your body weight. (1 kg = 2.2 lbs). Since you should be basically resting the few days before your event your body doesn’t need as much protein for muscle repair.
Pre Race Diet Morning Of The Race
Ideally, you should eat two to four hours before your big event, allowing proper time for digestion. With most races beginning in the wee hours of the morning this can be difficult. Getting up early enough to allow proper time for digestion might take away from sleep time, which is equally as important. This is where you need to find the balance that works for you. Your pre-race meal should be about 300-500 calories, with 80% of your calories coming from carbohydrates. Your goal should be to eat enough to give you adequate energy for your race, but not make you feel uncomfortable as you are racing. Avoid foods that are high in fiber, protein, and fat. Choose foods and drinks that are easily digested, and easily consumed. Some good options are Bagels; primarily made up of carbohydrates, topped with a low fat cream cheese or eaten plain. Bananas; containing more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, they are easily digested and contain potassium which is lost in sweat while you work out vigorously. There are energy bars made specifically to be a pre-race food. Be careful here to avoid the bars high in protein. Most of them are low in carbohydrates, and will not have the same advantageous effect on your body. Oatmeal is another great pre-race meal. It is made up primarily of carbohydrates, is easily digested, and will help you feel full. Another key factor is to make sure you’re adequately hydrated. Beginning hydrated will help you to maintain a proper fluid balance throughout your race.
The most important thing to remember here is to stick to what you know. The morning of your big race is not the time to try out new eating regimens you’ve heard work wonders. The time to figure out what is going to work best for your body is when you’re in training. Find the foods that your body digests well, and that give you sufficient energy. Putting the time into making sure your pre-race meal is satisfactory will be well worth your while, and can give you the boost necessary to ensure top performance!