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What to eat BEFORE a long race

24 Feb, 2019 • by Admin

The primary advice you’ve probably heard is that runners should pile on the potatoes and pasta in the days before a marathon

Nothing New on Race Day

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: Don’t try anything on race day that you haven’t practiced during training. It’s not always easy, but test different midrace fuel options, amounts, and timing on your long runs and take note of what works for race day. Once you find nutrition that works for you, bring it to the starting line. Research the race: If it carries your brand and flavor at its fuel stops, great! If not, BYOG (bring your own gel).

Smart Pre-Marathon Foods

What types of foods are best before a marathon? Pasta is a traditional favorite among marathon runners, but other carbohydrate-rich options include bread, cereal, bagels, potatoes, oatmeal, quinoa, rice, pizza (go easy on the cheese) and sweet potatoes.

It's also important to consume some protein the day before your marathon. So include a 3-4 ounce serving of fish, meat or tofu in your pre-marathon dinner.

And what are the worst pre-marathon foods? Avoid high-fiber or gas-forming foods like beans and any type of food that may upset your stomach or can interfere with sleep.

If you're traveling to a new location for your marathon, make sure you plan your meals in advance and be sure your favorite foods are available in the race city. Some runners prefer not to take any chances and pack their favorite foods to bring with them. You can also do a Google search for grocery stores in your race location.

Your Pre-Marathon Food Schedule

Of course, the food you eat before your race is important. You need proper fuel to go the distance. But food timing matters, too. Your pre-marathon food schedule can make a huge difference in your comfort level throughout the miles.

A smart food schedule involves some planning.

The day before your marathon, spread your calories out throughout the day so that you're eating something every two to three hours. Eat three normal-sized meals and two to four snacks.

About 65-70 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates. So try to add an extra serving of carbs to your meals and make sure your snacks are mostly carbs. Stick to healthy options and try to avoid very sugary junk foods.

Try to eat your pre-marathon dinner somewhere early—between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. This way you'll have plenty of time to digest before you go to bed. If you eat on the early side, you can also have a small snack a couple of hours later. One race day, be sure to finish your breakfast at least 90 minutes before the marathon start time. Don't have a huge breakfast and stick with mostly carbs and some protein.

Some examples of good pre-marathon foods include a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and an energy bar, or a bowl of cold cereal with a cup of milk. But remember, don't experiment with new foods or food combinations on race day.

Experiment With Pre-Marathon Foods

If you're reading this article in the months before your marathon, that means you've got plenty of time to experiment with the best pre-marathon foods for your body. Try any of these tips sheets to get ideas. Consider different food options before long runs to find the food schedule and food combinations that work best for you.

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