I am getting myself mentally and physically prepared as I gear up for the SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon. It is important that my body has the fuel with the proper foods and hydration during and after the race.
BRING ON THE CARBS!!
It is crucial to load up on carbohydrates, veggies, fruits and some lean meat a few days before race day. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy to help me get through 13+ miles! Remember that your body will burn glycogen (stored carbohydrates in muscles) as well as fat. It is important not to run out of glycogen during a race because you may not run as efficiently.
I have already started eating meals that will help with increasing my carbohydrate content like rice, pasta and starchy vegetables. My favorite starchy veggies include butternut squash, corn, chickpeas and potatoes! I’ll have my energy bars and gels ready to go to during my run to keep that carbohydrate replacement going. So start eating those pancakes, bagels, peeled baked potatoes and apples days prior to the long run to fill those muscles with glycogen!
- I try to stay away from dairy products and foods with high saturated fat content like sausage or mozzarella sticks before the big day. It is not a great idea to consume excess fat because the body expends more energy and time digesting fatty foods.
- Eat earlier in the day prior to race day to help promote better digestion! Who wants to feel bloated or nauseous during race time? My usual race day breakfast (2-3 hours before the race) will include a banana, slice of bagel or white toast with peanut butter or nut butter and a hard-boiled egg with avocado. Sometimes I change it up and have oatmeal.
- I’ll have these foods again FOLLOWING the race before my big celebratory meal.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!
UsuallyI start my day with a cup of decaf coffee but not on race day to avoid frequent bathroom breaks during the run and avoid dehydration. Remember that coffee is a diuretic!
It is important to stay hydrated while running since we lose water content through sweating and breathing. Thank goodness for those fluid stations with water and Gatorade!
Avoiding alcohol before and after the race also helps prevent dehydration. Have that glass of wine later in the week!
BEWARE OF INJURIES
- Unfortunately, I have a gluteal strain this year from training. Stay mindful of your muscles and ligaments while running. Pay attention to any unusual aches during the race.
- Stop, stretch and massage if necessary. Stop running completely and seek medical attention if you are unable to walk or experience worrisome symptoms like numbness, tingling, severe pain
- After the race, I will definitely need some rest, ice and more stretching.
Focus on yourself, your energy level and your breathing. Stay in YOUR zone and stick to YOUR pace.
So fuel your body while carb-loading and stay hydrated so you feel your best on race day and finish on a HIGH NOTE!