This past Monday, was CUSA Cross Country Championships, aka my last conference race. Having already been racing for what feels like half of my life, I have gotten a grasp of what works for my body before and after races. For some runners, however, knowing what their body needs pre and post race is still a little foreign to them.
I know some runners, that are too nervous pre-race to eat end up bonking during the race due to lack of energy. Others, eat too much or not the right thing before, and end up too full or having some GI issues (aka bladder problems) once the gun goes off. I have been a victim to each of these, but throughout the years I have experimented with different types of foods and textures that work well for me. Practice is not just for running workouts, use it as a time to also try out what works so that you can perform well on race-day.
First off, it is important to at least try to eat before hard workouts or races, because if you reflect about when you last ate, it was probably dinner. So, in reality your body was in a fasting state. Eating a snack before or a small breakfast can wake up your metabolism and provide energy before your run.Another thing to consider is what time your race is at. If its early you could probably get away with a small snack, but for late morning, I would recommend eating a moderate sized breakfast. Make sure to eat at least 2 hours before your race, or you may end up still feeling full and hear some "sloshing" in your stomach. Foods that are high carb keep you energized and low fiber to not upset your stomach are best. Also keeping a minimal amount of fat/protein, because too much can have the same effects as fiber on your stomach.
here are some ideas: a piece of fruit, a powerbar or granola bar, 1/2 bagel with peanut butter, gatorade or orange juice
Another big thing is recovery. Refueling within 30-60 minutes after a hard workout or race will affect how you do the next time you have to push your body, or even how you feel throughout the next couple hours. Within in the hour after, your body is like a sponge, and will utilize what you give it the best.
When your body has already used up the carbohydrates you ate before, it will start to eat away at glycogen stored in your muscles. This leads to muscle breakdown=poor recovery. To make sure that this does NOT happen make sure to eat simple and easily digestive carbohydrates or liquids, to replace your glycogen. Protein is also a major component to recovery and helps repair tissue breakdown or damage.
some more ideas: 1 cup of chocolate milk, sports drink, recovery bar, low fat yogurt or ice cream. oatmeal with almonds, handful of trail mix, fruit,
After knowing all of this, here is what I did on Monday:
pre race breakfast:2 whole grain waffles with peanut butter, 1 banana, 1/2 a Luna bar
post race: 3/4 bottle of sports drink and water (eating right after makes me queasy)
post race lunch: turkey sandwich, apple, chocolate coconut water (yum!)
Happy Thursday everyone,