Race Week Nutrition

Eat this, (definitely) don’t eat that.

We have butterflies in our stomachs, but obviously they won’t give us the fuel we need to run our half-marathon this weekend (agh!). Our coach, John Henwood, has given us specific instructions for what to eat—and what to not to eat—in the days leading up to our race.

Download the guide here

Water

4-5 days out

 

You’re cut off

Stop drinking alcohol and say no to junk food.

 

Don’t experiment with new foods

This is not the week to get adventurous with your diet. Make sure that every meal includes a carb and a protein.

Drink up

Now more than ever, you need to be hydrating with eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
Bagels

2-3 days out

 

Focus on your “glycogen” levels (throw that term around a few times and you’ll sound like a legit runner)

Most carbs are stored as glycogen in your muscles and liver. Glycogen is your body’s most accessible form of energy—and what you want to be fueling your body with during the race. Once your body runs out of glycogen, it will start using fat, but it has to work a lot harder to convert the fat to fuel. When you hear runners talking about “hitting the wall,” that’s usually when they’ve run out of glycogen and are starting to use fat.

 

This is the opportunity to carbo load that you’ve been waiting for

You can’t entirely load your muscles with glycogen from just one meal, which is why it’s important to start a few days prior to the race.

Carbs are king

Aim to have 85-95% of your daily calories coming from carbohydrates—rice, oatmeal, tortillas, white bread, bagels, waffles and low-fiber fruit, like bananas or skinned apples, are all good choices.

For once, water weight is a good thing

Storing carbs will help you store water. The ratio is typically three grams of water for every gram of stored carbohydrates. The combination of carbs and water will ensure you arrive at the race fully fueled.
4.13_race_nutrition3_no_text

The day before

 

Eat breakfast and lunch like usual

If you’ve been following the eating plan, these meals should already be full of carbs and proteins.

 

Snack between meals

Keep your energy levels up by eating at least two healthy and carb-intensive snacks throughout the day—choose a granola bar, white toast with jam, yogurt or skinned fruit.

Enjoy a light dinner

Have a good pasta dish with salad or vegetables. Skip the creamy sauce. Dinner should be 80-100% carbs and 0-20% protein. This will top off your glycogen stores nicely before the run.
Alarm Clock

The morning of

 

Wake up early

Have your breakfast about two hours before the race. Any closer to your start time and you’ll risk getting stomach cramps.

 

Eat like normal

Eat what you always eat the morning before a long run. Go with something you’ve tried before—that you know won’t upset your stomach.

Nerves or not, you must eat something

It’s a long race and your body will need more to fuel it than simply what you had for dinner the night before.

Download the guide here