Proper nutrition before running is often taken for granted. However, just like training, getting a handle on the proper nutrition weeks before race day will go a long way! Nutrition is constantly discussed among runners, and knowing what is best can be confusing. Even advanced runners often question if they are fueling themselves correctly before, during and after a race. Here is a quick guide to getting your nutrition for race day just right!
Focus on protein
Increasing your protein intake is one of the most important habits you can form when it comes to race prep. Increased protein helps build muscle, quickens recovery and helps you avoid injury. Runners need about 50 to 75 percent more protein than non-runners. For example, this equals around 200g of chicken everyday!
You probably aren’t surprised that hydration is important. Fluids are responsible for regulating your body temperature, flushing out damaged cells and lubricating your joints. During a run, try to remember to drink 3-4 sips of water every 15–20 minutes or drink to thirst. Everyone is different, but as a general rule you shouldn’t exceed 600ml of water per hour while running.
Snack before your run
Have a small snack 30-60 minutes before you head out. Smaller snacks will digest more easily, but will still provide a needed boost of energy. Ideally, a balance of proteins and carbohydrates is best- a banana or a wholewheat bagel topped with a scoop of peanut butter for example.
Add ginger to your diet
Ginger can relieve muscle soreness. Its anti-inflammatory compounds also help minimize your risk of injury. To easily incorporate it into your day, add chopped ginger to smoothies, stir fries, salads and soups; add powdered ginger to drinking water; or brew ginger tea.
Fuel early and often
You need to refuel your body with light snacks every 30 to 45 minutes. 30g of carbs per hour is a good guideline. Examples of foods which may meet 30g of carbs include a medium sized banana, some brands of granola bars and about 8 oz of pecans or walnuts. It is important to stay on top of exhaustion and slowly refuel yourself as opposed to waiting until your energy levels crash and trying to get them up again.
Within 30-45 minutes of a long run, recover with a snack of protein and carbs. During this time, your body is very responsive to nutrition. It will quickly use these nutrients to repair and rebuild muscles. Having this snack even if you feel like you don’t need it is important.
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