The Per­fect Race-Day Fuel Strat­egy

Runner's World South Africa - - Front Page - BY AMANDA MACMIL­LAN

It’s no se­cret that fu­elling can make or break a race. But it’s not just what you eat dur­ing a run that mat­ters. Forty-one per cent of run­ners have had stomach prob­lems ruin a long run or race, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent poll of Run­ner’s World Twit­ter fol­low­ers. But, ex­perts say, most is­sues are pre­ventable – if you fol­low these guide­lines.

THE DAY BE­FORE Do carb- load through­out the day.

Eat a higher-thannor­mal pro­por­tion of bread, pasta, rice, or other carbs (and less pro­tein, fat, and veg­eta­bles) at ev­ery meal – not just din­ner. “You might not be as hun­gry as usual dur­ing the ta­per,” says 11-time marathoner and di­eti­cian Kelly Ho­gan, of Mount Si­nai Hospi­tal in New York City. “Eat­ing smaller meals ev­ery cou­ple of hours can help you get enough carbs without stuff­ing your­self.” In his book Meb forMor­tals(R316, ex­clu­sive­, Meb Ke­flezighi said he keeps two or three sand­wiches on his bed­side ta­ble to eat through­out the night.

Do add salt.

You’re go­ing to sweat a lot dur­ing your run. When it’s warm and you’re out for more than an hour, you’ll lose a lot of sodium. To boost lev­els be­fore­hand, sprin­kle salt on pre-race meals, says Ho­gan, and opt for salty snacks and side dishes such as pickles or sauer­kraut.

Don’t for­get to drink.

It’s es­sen­tial to start your run prop­erly hy­drated. “If you’re al­ready run­ning on empty, you can’t make that up dur­ing the race,” says per­sonal trainer and di­eti­cian Kelli Shal­lal. Di­vide your body weight by 30 and drink at least that many litres per day in the week lead­ing up to your race. Set timers dur­ing the day to stay on track.

Don’t or­der a beer ( sorry!).

Yes, al­co­hol is a carb. “But it doesn’t work the same way food carbs do to fuel the glyco­gen stores for long-last­ing en­ergy,” says Shal­lal. Even one drink can tax the GI sys­tem and dis­rupt REM sleep (the most restora­tive type of sleep), she adds. “Your body may still feel the ef­fects the next morn­ing, even if your brain doesn’t.”

Don’t eat any­thing greasy or creamy.

Fatty foods can up­set your stomach, keep you awake at night, and cause GI prob­lems on race morn­ing, says per­sonal trainer and di­eti­cian Melissa Ma­jum­dar. “Make a reser­va­tion where you know you can get a safe, stan­dard meal,” she says. “By now you should know what works best the night be­fore a long run, and you want to repli­cate that as closely as pos­si­ble.”



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