How to fuel for a long distance running event
You've signed up for a long distance running event and now you're thinking about how you're going to go about your training and nutrition so that when it comes race day, you can ace the event. Well you've come the right place! Watch the video below to check out nutrition tips from fitness influencer @nuttyfoodiefitness who did a 10k challenge everyday for 7 days.
See the full breakdown of these tips below so you can refer back to them during the run up to the event.
Fuel Your Body To Succeed
What you put in your body is just as important as what you wear when you start running. Consider food as part of your gear. You want to fuel your body with fresh wholesome foods so it can optimally for a long period of time.
Try to maintain your calories
Running requires a lot of energy, particularly if running long distances like a half marathon or full marathon. Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body with enough energy. At the same time, a common mistake is underestimating how many calories your body burns when running. Work on finding a balance that’s right for you. Check in with how your body feels on a regular basis.
In the weeks leading up to your routine, stick to eating wholesome and fresh foods that your body can digest.
Eat enough oranges and you may experience less muscle soreness after hard workouts such as downhill running. Why? Oranges supply over 100 percent of the DV for the antioxidant vitamin C, and a recent study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro showed that taking vitamin C supplements for two weeks prior to challenging arm exercises helped alleviate muscle soreness.
Power up with wholegrain carbs
Bread is versatile, portable, and ready to eat right out of the wrapper. Spread with peanut butter or stuff with your favorite sandwich fillings and plenty of sliced veggies for a one-handed recovery meal. Coat with a beaten egg for French toast, or use as layers or crumbled in a casserole. Just be sure the label says 100 percent whole grain (all the grains and flours included in the ingredients should be listed as whole, not milled or refined). - Runners World
Pasta has long been a runner's best friend because it contains easily digestible carbs that help you restock spent glycogen (energy) stores. Whole-grain versions are a must over refined pastas because they contain more fiber to fill you up, additional B vitamins that are crucial to energy metabolism, and disease-fighting compounds - Runners World
Plan to eat one to two hours before you run to give you an energy boost without upsetting your stomach. Something like a banana that’s rich in carbohydrates and potassium can be a great pre-run snack.
Bananas contain potassium, a mineral that can help with muscle cramps. Plus, they’re great as run fuel—one medium banana packs about 27 grams of carbs, an efficient source of energy for longer distances that's easy on the stomach. - Runners World
But if you prefer to run on an empty stomach or eat something else that’s fine too. Follow what works for you and your body.
Do whatever it is that you need to get and feel ready before you run on race day into your training. Try to avoid eating something you won’t normally eat – you won’t want an upset stomach on race day.
When you’ve finished running, have a snack or meal with a combination of protein and carbs to help the body restock your muscle glycogen stores and boost recovery. Something like pitta and hummus, peanut butter sandwich or a chicken quinoa salad.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Quench your thirst, but don’t overdo it. Have a regular-size water bottle with you when running longer distances and if it’s a hot day.
A good rule of thumb is to aim to drink about half of your body weight in ounces each day. (So if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water.) And you don’t have to just guzzle water. Fruits and vegetables can also help you stay hydrated. Plus they’re packed with antioxidants, which boost muscle recovery and immunity. - Runners World
Electrolytes are water-soluble nutrients, like sodium, that can leave the body through sweating. So-called sports drinks can replace these electrolytes in the body. However, the length of your workout should be the guide for what you drink. If you run for less than an hour, water is just fine. After running for an hour, your body begins to need those nutrients, so a few sips of a sports drink can help you maintain your energy levels. But as with all things, a little bit of a sports drink can go a long way. These drinks often contain sugar, which your body doesn’t need if you are otherwise eating a healthy diet. So, while sports drinks serve a purpose among elite athletes and those who exercise for long periods, for those who exercise at a moderate intensity for an hour or less, water is probably the better choice.
How to Train
Make sure you give yourself enough time to train for your race and consider incorporating the following into your training routine:
- Run varying distances
While running the same distance you’ll be running on race day is a good to practice and get your body used to, so you know which pace to run at. If you want to improve your running time, you should set up a fixed weekly training routine which includes running different distances at different speeds. A good plan usually covers a mixture of different tempos, intervals, and distances to work on both the speed and endurance.
- Add some weight training in
If you're targeting for a specific time to achieve, then it's worth including strength training into your training. Studies have shown that strength training can help to improve your running performance, and also reduce risk of injury. Focus on performing lower body compound movements like the squat and lunges with added weight or resistance to power up your legs.
Just remember that running an event should be fun. Enjoy it, embrace it, and own it!