In any endurance sport preparation is definitely the key to success. Finding what works best for your body will ensure results. Effective food choices and hydration are crucial for top level performance but will also help in post run recovery. While everyone's protocol for each race may differ, here’s a few tips from the friendly trained staff at Healthshop to help you on your way!
1 week before the race
The week before the race two of the most important things you can do is keep hydrated and get plenty of good quality sleep.
Heading into a race even slightly dehydrated will reduce your performance and can contribute to cramping mid race.
You want to be aiming for 2 litres of water a day. If you are training in the heat or prone to sweating heavily then this amount may increase and the possibility of electrolyte replacement may be necessary. Xtend BCAA rehydration supplement may be helpful here. Not only will it help replenish electrolyte loss but the BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids- protein building blocks) may aid muscle recovery post training.
Three days before the race
Three or so days before the race slowly increase some carbohydrate consumption. Now this isn’t a cheeky excuse for donuts and cake, but nourishing whole foods like sweet potato, brown rice, and spelt pasta.
Don’t stress about breaking your eating regime - your focus should be on fueling for your race, not calorie restriction. The goal in this is to increase muscle glycogen stores. This is one of the bodies stored carbohydrate areas and you will need this for energy during the race.
The night before the race
The night before the race your dinner should be small but carbohydrate heavy. You want those glycogen stores nice and full. Great quality sleep is a must, so if you’re feeling a bit nervous a cup of Relaxation tea from Roogenic or Three Chamomile tea from Pukka might just do the trick.
On race day eat the breakfast you’ve practiced in training. It’s definitely not the time to be trying new things at this point.
Keep it simple, high in energy, and easily digestible. For example, oats with dried fruit, toast with nut butter, banana and yoghurt, or buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup. Eating at least 2hrs before the race should be enough time for your stomach to settle.
Again, hydration is key. Amino Switch, an essential amino acid and electrolyte supplement, from Switch Nutrition may be helpful here. Due to the amino acid ratio and the complete rapid absorption of Amino Switch it is of particular benefit during and after training for athletes who wish to improve performance, and speed recovery. It also contains Schisandra chinensis, a herb, which may enhance greater blood flow to and from your working muscles. This enhanced blood flow may improve the transportation of nutrients giving you a greater performance and assist in faster recovery. One serve can be consumed 2hrs before, and after the race.
During long distance races (over 1-2hrs), low blood sugar will occur and in turn the onset of fatigue and reduced performance. When this happens the body then turns to your glycogen stores for more energy. To conserve those stores for later (like a sprint to the finish!), carbohydrate gels are often used. Endura sports energy gels are a mix of 26gms of carbohydrates, some electrolytes and a small amount of caffeine. It’s important to consume these with 250ml of water for the best assimilation and to avoid gastric upset. If this isn’t possible, frequent sips of the gels with small sips of water is also fine.
Post-race nutrition is just as important and pre-race nutrition. Glycogen stores need to be replaced, muscle repair and regeneration need to occur, and hydration again replenished.
A meal 30 minutes to 1 hour after the race with a 3:1 carb to protein ratio should get you on your way. If you prefer something lighter a protein powder should be sufficient in getting muscle repair underway. Amazonia RawFIT Performance Protein is a great plant-based option. With 31gm of certified organic protein, marine magnesium, glutamine and tart cherry, it is an innovative formula for muscle repair and recovery. A fantastic whey-based protein option is International Protein’s Synergy 5. A combination of five types (32.8gms in total) of rapid and sustained release proteins means that recovery will continue well after the race’s end.
As with any advice, if you are unsure, please check with your health professional before commencing any new protocol.
Most of all have fun running! It isn’t called a fun run for nothing!
Good Luck from the team at Healthshop, Strathpine.
See you in store soon!
P.S. Mention in any Healthshop store (Strathpine, North Lakes, Morayfield, Chermside, Toombul, Aspley, Stafford and Brookside) that you have read this blog when making a purchase and receive a FREE Protein Shaker.
1 per customer. No minimum dollar spend. Valid until 23/07/2019.