Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Blog Archives - 2012
Fueling Up for a Race

We've got some races coming up this fall, and those of you who are rearing to go need to know some key tips when it comes to the right nutrition. Training for the race in itself is difficult and you have multiple worries when it comes to the actual day of the race: running form, finishing in your goal time, scheduling those longer runs, blisters, weather, even doubting your ability to finish. But there is nothing more important than having proper nutrition so you can fuel up and run with one less worry, and you can focus on reaching that finish line. Unless you fuel up properly, you'll have more difficulty on your training runs and finishing your races. Here's a few tips to help you prepare for the big day!

Learn how to carbo-load correctly: Marathon nutrition tips have always included the recommendation for carbo loading the night before a race. Basically all that is is simply consuming a bunch of carbohydrates, storing up energy in your muscles. People also do this for their long runs as well. You consume whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, ones that are rather low on the glycemic index. You should be eating several portions small/medium in size all throughout the days prior to your race. Yes, days. If you just carbo load the night before, you're likely to have indigestion. In fact, it's a good idea to start carbo loading 3 to 6 days before a race. Keep in mind that the carbohydrates that are low on the glycemic index are quite rich in fiber, so think and make smart choices when you load up!

Keep fiber intake under control: Fiber is really important when fueling up for the big day, and most of the complex carbs you'll be eating have a lot of fiber in them. There is a downside though, all that fiber will leave you stuck in the smelly old outhouse on race day if you're not careful. Your body has different reactions to different foods, so pay attention to what your body is telling you and avoid the foods that have a rather distasteful reaction when fueling up.

Are you getting that protein? Any good marathon training nutrition plan will provide you with an adequate amount of protein to keep your muscles lean and strong. This will make sure you have enough protein to repair ripped or worn out muscles after harder workouts. The more intensive the workout, the more protein you'll need to consume.

Try not to run on an empty stomach:
We all know that cramping feeling we get in our abdomen when we try running without eating anything for a while. It sucks. Especially on long runs! Whether it's a short or long run, you need to have something fueling you as you go. A small snack will do a little bit before a shorter run, but on a long run, say, if you're going to be running for over an hour, you should take some protein bars or other snacks with you. You should consume a little something about every hour, so you don't burn out. Try not to eat large amounts at one time, as that will most likely make you feel bloated and sluggish, while causing indigestion. At the same time, avoid running on a full stomach as well, there's nothing that will ruin your run more than spewing up that delicious meal you just splurged on...eww. Large meals right before a run is a huge no-no. Try to eat a small/medium meal one or two hours prior to your long run, so the carbs/other nutrients have a chance to break down and supply you with that energy you'll need. And when I say a small meal, I don't mean nibble on junk. I mean have some whole food, healthier food, that will keep you satisfied and fueled up for your run. Fruit or nuts make a great pre-run snack, along with whole wheat crackers. Also, try to stay away from dairy and fat right before a run, as they tend to slow digestion and give you a sick feeling when you work out.

Know what you're eating: There's nothing worse than being unprepared when it comes to racing. Which is why you shouldn't experiment with foods you haven't eaten a whole lot of before when a race is coming up. You're gonna want to know exactly how your body reacts to certain foods. For something like a day or two prior to race day, stick to eating foods that you eat on a routine basis--runner food--so they agree with your stomach.

Hydration, hydration, hydration!!!!
Have you ever collapsed during a run as a result of dehydration? It is quite a scary experience, not to mention an embarrassing one. You're gonna need to be drinking a whole lot of water. Especially in this heat!! Try to drink enough water so that your urine stays a clear or light yellow ALL the time. This is very important. Water will certainly suffice in shorter runs, but on longer runs you should mix it with a sports drink mix or take gel packs along as well. This is really helpful because it helps to replenish those lost electrolytes while hydrating you. You're also gonna want to keep drinking well after your run, to help you recover and keep you hydrated as your heart rate starts to slow down..this make take an hour or two, so keep drinking water!

That was quite a bit to take in, sorry! But if you're planning on taking your training/races seriously, I strongly suggest you take note and keep these tips in mind! I wish you luck during your training and on race day!

Happy Trails!

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