To follow on my diet blog from a few weeks ago and due to the fact my first 10k of 2018 is coming up on the 10th March, this week I’m blogging about “race prep diet” and what I recommend. Now I only run (relatively) short distances – primarily 5k and 10k’s, so these tips are only for those distances. I’ve never run a marathon so would highly recommend thorough research on diet and race prep if you’re thinking of doing that. Right with that caveat out the way…
The day before a race…this is when I actually start my “race” prep as before this point, I’m just eating my normal healthy(ish) diet! First off, I totally 100% ensure that I’m hydrated – today of all days I ensure I’ve had my 8 glasses of water – it’s so important for your body to be firing on all cylinders. Most people have heard about “carb loading” before a run, well I kind of agree but don’t take this too far! It’s important to get a few extra carbs in the night before a race. This could be pasta, rice, potato or cereal based carbs but don’t eat too much. A normal sized portion is more than enough as carb loading too much or overeating can make you feel bloated and sluggish and that’s the last thing you’d want before a run. Lean protein alongside the carbs is great – chicken is always my go to as it’s so versatile. Try and avoid anything too high in fat like cheese sauces, pastry, cream as these can sit heavy on your stomach and can be slower to transit through your system.
The day of the race…breakfast is NON-NEGOTIABLE. You have to eat. You need energy in your system to burn in order to run at your best. Eat at least 1 hour before the run is due to start. Some winning pre-race breakfasts include:
- Bagel and peanut butter
- Toast with jam or honey
- Granola, yoghurt and fruit
All the above top up the “glycogen levels” which is the stored energy in your muscles which will release slowly during your run.
I team my breakfast with a smoothie – I’ve tried the protein shake route a few times but personally I prefer a scoop or two of the powder in a smoothie rather than in milk. My fave smoothie is a Joe Wickes (shock horror) one called Fats Me Up Smoothie – it’s got almond milk, yoghurt, blackberries, blueberries, avocado and a little honey in it – it’s amazing!
Personally I like to drink a sports drink on the way to the race rather than water for that extra sugar hit. My favourite is Lucozade Orange (it’s also a fab hangover cure…ha ha) and I will sip probably half a bottle on my way to the run. I hate needing a wee as it annoys me to stop on the way round (if there’s even the facilities to do so!!) and running needing a wee is just the pits so I tend to limit my drinking until the race is done and then I rehydrate with water (and maybe a few sneeky prosecco’s!!)
Anyone got any fab tips to share? I love hearing everyone’s pre-race hints and rituals…