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Race Week: What to Eat and When

Posted April 9, 2015

At this point, most of you have been on a training regimen for race day, but properly fueling your body is just as important leading up to the race. During training, I test what foods help me perform my best whether that be sport drinks, energy bars, or regular food.  Here are food and drink choices that work best for me before, during, and after a race.

*Note: This is not a meal plan but rather food/drink ideas for the race

Before (2 hours pre-race)

  • Bananas – great source of potassium and carbohydrates, which helps prevent muscle cramps and is a source of energy for your run.
  • Coffee or energy drink – FRS Energy is a healthy energy supplement that comes in a powder drink mix, liquid drink or soft chews and can be found at the Vitamin Shoppe here in SLO.
  • Quick carbs – granola bar, bread, English muffin or a bagel smeared with peanut butter and a banana.

During (before fatigue sets in during the race)

  • Clif Shot Bloks – these energy chews are easy to carry and provide a quick dose of energy while running.  Sports Authority, DICK’S Sporting Goods, and other cycling stores around town should carry these as well as other energy bars, beans and drinks.
  • Gatorade, water, or other sports drinks at the aid stations

After (30 mins – 1 hour post-race)

  • Banana + Greek yogurt
  • Chocolate milk
  • Protein shake or protein bar
  • Turkey sandwich or a burger
  • Pancakes!!

A lot of athletes and runners like to “carb-load” before a big race, which I find most effective if done two days before a race.  This gives me plenty of time to digest and not feel bloated and lethargic the morning of the race.

Read this article from Runner’s World about carb-loading leading up to a marathon.

TWO WEEKS to go… let’s go SLO!