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Generally speaking, you want to find something light, and not eat anything much closer than 30 minutes to race time. Like I said, I'll typically eat maybe a granola bar the day of the race, and oftentimes I have to force it down. Mostly i just drink plenty of Gatorade before the race and I'm fine. You really just have to experiment and find what works for you.
Okay, the name may be out of the mainstream, but for my last long run I had about a cup of Ezekial 4:9 Golden Flax Cereal with a cop of light Vanilla Soy Milk and a banana. After the 12 mile run I went and swam laps for about half an hour, good slow long burning breakfast fuel. It's made by these guys: http://www.foodforlife.com/
So now my fall 8K is coming up and I am at a loss of what to eat/not eat.
In general you should have a small meal about three hours before your race. It should be mostly carbohydrates with a little protein. Stick to familiar foods that are low-bulk, low-fat, and are not spicey. I tend to go with a toasted bagel topped with a small smear of peanut butter and sliced banana. Then, about 30-45 minutes before I race I'll have some sort of energy bar to inject some additional gylcogen to my muscles.
Have you heard of Mazama's SideStream hydration waist pack? It's great! I just got mine and ran with it through some really hilly terrain, and I can say it's the best invention I have ever seen for hydration on-the-go. It has a retractable drink tube. It straps to your waist and sits at your lumbar. It did not bounce or move around one bit. It was so comfortable; I forgot it was there, except when I got thirsty, of course! No more water bottles for me!
P.S. It also has a zipper-pocket for your cell phone, keys, ID, whatever.
SIDESTREAM HYDRATION WAISTPACK
Lumbar-riding hydration waistpack for running, cross-country skiing, and everyday training. Designed to get you out the door quickly and let you hydrate easily and efficiently. It features the Sidestream's revolutionary retracting drink tube and a 27 oz. top-fill internal bladder.
The one rule I think all will agree on don't try anything on race day that you haven't done in training
I have a bagel with peanut butter but I always have a small cup of coffee. The famous Bill Rodgers cup of coffee for obvious reasons.... Drink fluids until fully hydrated
I will be running my second marathon next Sunday, the Columbus Marathon. I think I ate too much the night before the previous marathon. Would it be better for me to eat a bigger meal at lunch the day before and maybe just have a power bar or something the night before.
What about prerace meals the day of a marathon...any tips???
avoid big meals for 36 hours before your race
avoid excess fat, bulk/roughage, and spicy foods during the last few days before your race
remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the days leading up to your race
try spreading out your food intake into 4 or 5 smaller meals each day rather than 2 or 3 big ones
get up early so that you can finish your breakfast at least 3 hours before the race (this also helps your muscles to stretch out naturally)
pop an energy bar or gel, etc. 15-45 minutes before the start in order to elevate the glycogen supplies available to your muscles
As for pre-race breakfasts, I like a bagel with a small smear of peanut butter and a sliced banana or, when it's cold out, a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon. Don't forget to drink plenty of water.
Good luck and happy running!