What to Eat before a Race for Optimum Performance?
- Written by The Osteopaths
Are you preparing for a race or marathon? Wonder what to eat for maximum performance? If so, plan your meals ahead. Ideally, your menu should include complex carbs that provide steady energy with no crashes. You also need protein to fuel your muscles and help them recover from training. Here are some tips to help you out:
Have a Plan
What you eat before a race affects your performance. This isn't the best time to try new foods or experiment in the kitchen. Create a menu that includes your go-to foods, such as pasta, sweet potatoes, or chicken. Make sure you know exactly what you will eat in the last two or three days before a race.
Avoid Digestive Irritants
Like most types of exercise, running may cause digestive distress. To reduce discomfort, avoid heavy meals, spices, chocolate, legumes, tomatoes, fried foods, and carbonated beverages before a race. Eating too much or choosing the wrong foods can affect digestion, leading to poor overall performance, fatigue, and trouble sleeping. The last solid meal should be consumed no later than two hours before the event.
Choose Your Carbs Wisely
Your pre-race meal should fill your liver glycogen stores and provide your muscles with lasting energy. About 80 percent of the calories consumed before a race should come from carbs, such as pasta, rice, fruit, and vegetables. Have an energy bar right before the event. Steer clear of high-fiber foods because they may trigger digestive problems.
Keep drinking water up to 30 minutes before the event. However, runners should avoid chugging too much water because it may cause bloating, muscle cramps, and even hyponatremia. You may also opt for electrolyte drinks, sports drinks, and energy gels. Drink small amounts of caffeine before the race to boost your energy and stamina.
Eat Lean Protein
Protein takes a lot of time and energy to digest ands break down. For this reason, it's recommended to choose a source of fast digesting protein before the race, such as whey protein isolate or hydrolyzed whey. Bone broth, which contains hydrolyzed collagen protein, is an excellent choice too.