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Active Expert: Nancy Clark RD CSSD

1 Post tagged with the feuling_during_long_run tag

Nancy. I'm training for the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December, which starts at 5:00 pm. I've never run an evening race before and have no idea how to eat that day. I'd love information about how to fuel for an evening race -- breakfast, lunch, pre- and post-race nutrition.

Thanks! Kimberly

 

ANSWER

Because each runner has differing abilities to tolerate foods and fluids before, during and after a running event of any distance, offering one-size-fits-all sports nutrition advice is difficult. That’s why you want to figure out DURING YOUR LONG TRAINING RUNS what eating pattern will work best for your body.

     I highly recommend you plan to do several long training runs at the same time as the race, 5:00 p.m. That will give you the opportunity to practice your fueling strategies. Those training runs, however, will not evoke the same gut-troubling level of stress and anxiety that you may have on the day of the event…hence, your first evening half-marathon will really be your “practice” one.

 

• The week before the half-marathon, you will want to:

--taper your training, so your muscles have time to heal and get fully fueled with carbohydrates.

--enjoy carb-based meals to provide the fuel needed to carbo-load your muscles. {Protein builds and heals muscles, but fruits, vegetables, and grains are best to fuel your muscles.)

--drink plenty of fluids, so you enter into the event well hydrated.

 

• On the day of an 5:00 p.m. event, if you are afraid you might be too nervous to eat close to race-time, plan to enjoy a hearty carbohydrate-based brunch (pancakes, French toast, or tried-and-true cereal-banana-bagels-fruit) at 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. and then a 3:00 pm, have a lighter snack (energy bar, banana, pretzels, bagel, sports drink) or what ever seems like it would settle well and digest easily.

 

• If you are less fearful of intestinal problems, enjoy your standard breakfast, a hefty carb-based meal such as pasta at noon, and then a bagel (with peanut butter) or turkey sandwich at 3:30-4:00ish, to curb pre-event hunger.

 

• If you will be running more than 90 minutes, you will want to fuel during the half-marathon, targeting about 150-250 calories per hour, starting after the first hour (or sooner, if you have been unable to eat for several hours pre-event.) How many calories you need will depend on your body size (bigger runners need more fuel). Drink enough sports drink or water+sports foods to quench your thirst, but stop drinking if your stomach is “sloshing.”

 

• After the half-marathon, enjoy a nice recovery meal that suits your cravings. Preferably, it should be carb-based, to refuel your muscles, with a side of protein to repair your muscles. Some people like burgers or steak, as a change from carbs. If that’s your case, just be sure to enjoy some potato, rolls, veggies and other carb-based foods alongside the protein.

     Because you will unlikely be running again the next day, you need not fret about recovery; your muscles will have plenty of time to refuel before your next training session. But a proper carb-based diet with a side of protein plus extra fluids will optimize recovery so you feel great sooner than later.

 

Have fun!

Nancy

 

For more detailed information, please refer to my Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions (www.nancyclarkrd.com).

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Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Nancy Clark RD CSSD

Member since: Jul 8, 2007

Hi! I specialize in nutrition for exercise, and help active people figure out how to manage food, weight, exercise, energy and enjoyment of eating. Let me know if you have any questions!

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