You’ve trained like a champion and your body is ready and able to take on the big race. Now all you have to do is make sure that you consistently fuel your body with healthy energy to keep you going strong. Here are some easy, tasty on-the-go race nutrition tips.
1.Protein and fat help your body to generate sustained energy. Nuts are high in protein and contain good fats, and when consumed in moderation (30 g portions) they provide a healthy energy boost.
2.If your run is going to last longer than 75 minutes, you’ll need some refuelling. Dried fruit and nuts are light, easy to carry with you and nutrient dense, making it the ideal mid-race snack.
3.Aim to refuel within the “glycogen recovery window” of 30 to 60 minutes after a run. This is when your body needs it most to repair muscle tissue and replace glycogen stores. Eat a good mix of carbohydrates with a little fat and protein.
4.Nut butters are great as a healthy protein and fat source. Eat one medium banana and one tablespoon of nut butter one hour before your run. The potassium and fluid in the fruit help you stay hydrated and the nut butter offers heart-healthy fat and carbs.
5.You need healthy fats when preparing for a race. Many athletes have an imbalance in Omega 3, which can contribute to inflammation, infections and compromised immunity. Aim to up your Omega 3 intake from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and kippers. Oils from flax seed, hemp seed, olives, olive oil and avocado are also valuable sources of healthy fats when taken in conjunction with oily fish.
6.Coconut water is an excellent mid-run energiser. It is so popular because it is an optimal source of the big-5 electrolytes: calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous. It is also more easily digested than most sports drinks.
7.Raisins have been found to be just as effective during endurance-based cardio workouts as sports jelly beans. They are high in calories, giving you a natural energy boost.
8.Snack on some dates during a long run. They are easy to chew and higher in simple sugars and carbohydrates than other dried fruit. They are also a good source of potassium. Three dates make up one portion.
9.Try not to eat something your body isn’t used to right before or during your race. It might trigger nausea and/or cramping. If you want to introduce a new food or supplement to your routine, do so gradually to give your body time to adjust. Never take supplements without consulting with your doctor or a qualified sports nutritionist first.
10.Ensure that you protect your muscles by properly warming up before a run and stretching afterwards.
Runners understand the kind of commitment and dedication it takes to remain racing fit. Commit to keeping your body healthy by supplementing your training with excellent nutrition and enough time to rest so that your body can recover after a hard race.
“As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.” – Joan Benoit Samuelson