Nutrition is important to a runner overall. However, it's even more important when you are running long distances and training for a road race. What you eat before your long run will help determine how well your run goes.
You need to start thinking about what you are eating two days before your long run or road race - and you should be thinking about carbohydrates. Runners want to increase your carb intake, but not your overall calories. This is the mistake that many runners make. They feel that carbo-loading means that they can eat all the pizza and pasta that they can handle.
But, in reality, it means to increase the percentage of carbs that you eat during the time. If you are eating more meat than your carbohydrate source (such as rice), eat more rice than meat during this period. Good sources of carbs to eat are pasta, rice potatoes and starchy vegetables.
Right before your long run or road race, you need to try to stay away from foods that are high in fiber content. You don't want the fiber to kick in during your road race or in the middle of a long run.
Also, make sure that you are staying well-hydrated the few days before your long run or race. You also want to try to stay away from consuming a lot of alcoholic drinks. Alcohol can cause dehydration - and you don't want this during your long run attempt.
The morning of your long run or race, you want to eat at least an hour before you start. If possible, 2 hours. And, make sure that you are still eating plenty of carbs and protein. Many runners will eat a bagel or a piece of toast with peanut butter. Many will eat a bowl of cereal. If you do eat a bowl of cereal, watch the fiber content.
I like to eat a Power Bar before I head out on my long run. I also do this before any race that I run. It has all the nutrients in it that I need and it adequately fills me up.
Regarding water intake the morning of - you want to make sure that you are staying well-hydrated. However, another mistake that runners make is to over-hydrate. This could cause you to have to stop to relieve yourself during your run. A good rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces of water about an hour before you plan on heading out. Then, stop drinking water until about 10-15 minutes before you start. At that time, drink about 6 ounces to make sure you are hydrated enough to begin.
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