Welcome to mybodyandsoul.com.au’s Running School! Over the coming week we’ll provide with you tricks, tips and inspiring stories that will make you want to dusk off those sneakers and get running. Enjoy!
The big race is coming up. You’ve been training hard for months, and all the early mornings, vomit-inducing high intensity sessions and (painful) massages are about to pay off.
One question I get asked all the time relates to fuelling up in the days leading up to a race. See below for my top tips on pre-race nutrition that will get you the results you deserve.
#1 Don’t try anything new on race day (or the day before)
Just like you’ve practiced how you’ll actually race, practice what you’ll eat too. If you’ve never eaten or drunk something, I wouldn’t suggest having it the day before, or the day of your race – you’ll never know how it could impact you. When it comes to eating during the race, ensure you’ve been through what you want to do a number of times in training. Having a well thought out strategy will boost your confidence and help relieve those nerves.
#2 Stay well hydrated
Throughout the course of the week prior to your race, ensure you maintain adequate hydration. Being even slightly dehydrated going into your race will negatively impact your performance. Keep water with you to sip on throughout the day, and as the day gets closer, you may want to add some sports drink into the mix.
#3 Get enough sleep!
More and more I find myself speaking to my athletes about the role of sleep. I know this is not ‘nutrition’, but getting enough rest each night directly impacts your ability to perform. Being tired = reduced performance.
#4 Increase carbs
Yep, you do need to increase your carb intake in the days leading up, particularly if you’re participating in a marathon. Current research says to aim to start this 2-3 days beforehand, aiming for approx. 10-12g per kilogram per day. While it is important to keep this number in mind (and if you’re comfortable, hit it), it doesn’t mean gorging on as much food as you can stuff in. Being comfortable with what you have consumed is most important. If you are running a shorter distance, you wont need to carb load quite so significantly, or for as long.
#5 But…which carbs?
While the above may make you think ‘oooh… donuts!’, filling up on high-sugar high-fat choices is only likely to make you feel sluggish. Oats, bread, pasta, rice, fruit and some dairy products are better choices, and adding sports drink to that mix the day before also helps with hydration as well. Drinks won’t fill you up as much as many of the higher carb foods will, making it easier to get a bit more in. Why do I like recommending these foods? Because hopefully, they have been the types of foods you would usually choose to eat on a regular basis, meaning you are used to eating them, which brings us back to the ‘no new things’ we discussed in point 1.
If you’re feeling unsure, it’s a good idea to get some personalised advice from a sports dietitian.
While we’re on the topic, here are 4 ways to maximise your run. Plus, check out how this regular Aussie mum went from the school drop off to marathons.
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