Yesterday I ran my first long distance run for a year. I used to run quite often so had my race day routine finely tuned to suit me so found it relatively easy to get myself back into the swing of things even after some time.
This is what I did to fuel my body on race day.
2 Turkey rashers, 2 poached eggs, 1/2 avacado, mushroom, asparagus and grilled tomato; Pint water; Coffee
My race was at 2 pm so I had a late / leisurely breakfast around 11 am. I’m a fan of a reasonably big breakfast before a race, and if I’d have been running for over an hour would have added some more carbs, such as some toast or a bagel but for a 10km run this filled me up well and remained within my calorie goals for the day. There can be an urge when you have a race day to eat lots and lots because, well you’re running a long way, but you need to bare in mind that run won’t burn more calories than your training runs or normal training sessions in the gym so you need to be mindful not to over estimate how many calories you need in comparison to normal.
Tip: Eat one of your normal breakfasts – before a race is not the time to try something new – you want to know your stomach can handle running on what you eat.
Tip: Have plenty of water the day before and when you get up to hydrate then don’t drink for an hour before you run so you don’t need a wee half way round!
During the Run:
I sipped about 250ml water on the way round to stay hydrated. It wasn’t very warm and I was running for an hour so there was no need for any additional fuel as my body was already well fueled.
Tip: Gels are not necessary unless you are running for over an hour if you are sufficiently well fueled and hydrated leading up to the run. For longer runs an energy gel after the first hour may help, but try them in training runs first and stick to the brand you practiced with on the day (again you don’t want to risk your stomach objecting!). Jelly babies act similarly to gels in giving ou a boost on longer runs.
TGI Friday’s Sesame Chicken Strips with fries, Frozen Irish Coffee, 500 ml water
After a run you want to eat a soon as possible – ideally within a 30 minute to an hour window. I planned to eat at home but ended up facing an hour wait for my train so found somewhere in the station to eat. I ideally look to replenish with a meal that has both protein and carbs. You always want to eat something that feels like a treat after a race too so my go to post run meals are chicken and chips or a roast dinner. No roasts around in the station so this was the best thing I could find! Alcohol should be consumed in moderation – although it’s always nice to have a celebration tipple, but try and have some water as well.
Tip: Look to eat asap after you run, and to get something with carbs and protein in it. Chips are not the devil.
Pint water with electrolytes
When I got home I made sure I drank lots of water and the first glass I had I added a scoop of electrolytes to replace any salts lost.
Tip: A hydration tablet or similar product can aid recovery.