Good Eats Before a Race (or Workout)
Have a low-fat, high-carbohydrate and low-fiber meal about three hours beforehand to prevent any indigestion, fatigue or stomach discomfort while running. Avoid heavy meals the day before the race and only eat familiar foods on the day itself.
Foods to eat
- Bread/toast, bagel, peanut butter, fruit without skin (banana), pulp-free fruit juice or sports drink for a pre-race breakfast.
- Rice, pasta, lean meat, starchy vegetables, fruits for “carbo-loading” at least three days before the race.
- For hydration, drink 500 to 700 ml of fluid about three hours before the race.
Foods to avoid
- Deep fried foods, foods high in saturated fats (red meat, processed foods like bacon, sausages and pastries).
When to Hydrate
- You’ve read all about how dehydration impacts performance, so let’s talk about what to drink, when and how.
Drinking before you run
- One way to minimize dehydration is to ensure that you begin a long run fully hydrated. In the days before a big race, it is a good idea to sip as much water as you can to keep your body topped up.
- On the day of the run, drink up to two hours before the start. Most experienced runners stop then, to avoid the need to urinate while they are running. You can begin drinking again immediately before the start.
Drinking while running
- Drinking while running is a skill, and you need to practise it during your training to work out what works best for you.
- Drink little and often to avoid a bloated feeling while you are running;
- Take time to walk for a few steps to enable you to drink comfortably and avoid choking;
- On a hot day, you should regulate your temperature by splashing water over yourself as well as by drinking. You may want to pour a cup of water over your head (and especially down the back of your neck) to keep you cool. During the closing stages of a race – for example, during the last half an hour – cooling yourself this way may be more effective than drinking. It is also less likely to make you feel nauseus.
Drinking after running
- When you have finished running, you should aim to replenish the fluid you have lost. Because you don’t absorb all the fluid you drink, it is recommended that you drink about half as much again as the volume of fluid you have lost.
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