The Twin Cities marathon is this weekend and you may be one of the thousands of people gearing up for the big race. Whether you are training for 26.2 milers or helping at the toddler trot, wholesome pre-race fuel is essential.
Good pre-race fuel doesn’t mean a large plateful of spaghetti the night before the race. “When you eat a bowl of spaghetti, most of the carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is your body’s most easily accessible form of energy, but it’s not the only source.
During a half or full marathon you burn both glycogen and fat. But the latter is not as efficient, which means your body has to work harder to convert it into fuel.”*
So, naturally, your body will burn the easiest form of fuel first, glycogen. But when you run out of glycogen during a race you hit “the wall”. This is because your body has to slow down as it turns fat into energy. So how can you prevent “the wall”.
Instead of stocking up on spaghetti or a loaded baked potato the night before the big race, increase your carbohydrate consumption two to three days before the race. Doing so will build up a supply of glycogen in your muscles.
Select easy-to-digest, high carb, low fiber foods such as white bread, baked potatoes without the skin, bagels, rice, tortillas, and yogurt. If you consume too many fibrous foods, you might experience “undesirable reactions” during the race.
Avoid high-fat foods as they take longer to digest.
But the most important nutritional aspect to the pre-race regime is to stay hydrated.
Many runners don’t realize if you’re going to be performing at peak capacity during a road race, you must be well-hydrated. Fluid will help to maintain your body temperature so you’ll feel cooler during a race. A well hydrated body will perform better.
Try and avoid a lot of sugary drinks (that could include some sports performance drinks). Sugar is going to give you a “false” energy rush, and then cause your running-metabolism to drop as the quick burning energy of sugar is gone. Also, some of these sports drinks can cause an adverse reaction in your body. The ‘fuelling-up’ the night before is the important thing for powering your ‘high-octane fuel’ driven body.**
* McDowell, Dimity. “Fill ‘Er Up.” Runner’s World Nov. 2011
** Daigneault, Todd. “Things to Do before a Running Race.” Helium.com. N.p., 6 Sept. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2012.
Try these recipes for carbohydrate increase meal plan before the race.
Throw these Kidz Cliff-Like Bars in your purser or brief-case this week for a healthful carbo-minded snack.
A refreshing Summer Greek Pasta Salad, perfect for lunch the day before the race.
Prefer potatoes over pasta? Tuna Salad with Butter Potatoes is a refreshing update to the classic tuna salad.