Before, during and after a run what you eat matters. No matter what kind of “eater” you are, you have to figure out which foods fuel you without weighing you down.
In the days before a big race I make sure I eat foods that make me feel “light”. The last thing I want to do is eat foods that weigh me down. While this list is different for everyone here’s what works for me leading up to a race, during the race, and after the run (same applies for long runs).
The week leading up to the run:
I avoid these foods that don’t make me feel my best:
- all dairy
- spicy foods
I load up on the foods that make me feel great and that my stomach easily processes:
Focusing on hydration is also huge for me. I begin drinking a little more water than normal the week before a race. It may sound strange, but I want to wake-up on race day morning already hydrated and ready to go. Typically, I won’t drink more than a few ounces of liquids before the race. This helps me avoid extra trips to the porta-potty (and is the reason I’m reducing my coffee intake).
The morning before the run:
During the run:
13.1 miles and under: I find that if I’ve fueled properly in the days leading up to a 1/2 marathon and it’s not hot outside, I don’t need anything other than water and a little gatorade (or whatever is offered on the course).
13.2 – 18 miles: I fuel once with a clif shot block or clif shot gel around mile 9-10. I also stop at water fountains around my running route as needed in an effort to stay on top of my hydration levels.
18 miles and beyond: I’m still working on this but the plan is to fuel twice with a gel/block and once with an electrolyte such as nuun. As I figure this out I’ll report back.
After the run:
As soon as I get home I either pull out the juicer or the blender to refuel. If a juice is what I’m craving I make sure I also have a slice of bread with nut butter. Otherwise I usually make this coconut water smoothie.
*Please note, I’m not making these recommendations for anyone specifically but just letting you know what is currently working for me.
What about you, have you learned what foods work best for you for fueling your long runs/races?