If you've been training for the Baltimore Running Festival or another fall half or full marathon, your big race is just weeks away! Hopefully you've been training smart - like with one of the Charm City Run training groups - and logging plenty of miles. But have you been paying attention to what you're eating before, during and after your runs? Your last long run before the taper is coming up, so it's time to consider these questions as you enter the final days of training:
Have you determined what breakfast you're going to eat on race day?
You should be testing out different options to see what works best for you in terms of fueling as well as what is easiest on your digestion. You'll also want to consider what will be available on race morning: Are you sleeping in your own bed or staying in a hotel another state over? Remember, you're looking for a breakfast with a good source of carbs and not too much in the way of protein, fiber and fat. More on this topic HERE.
Have you experimented with carb supplements to determine what and how much you'll consume on the course?
Your long run is the lab to determine which carb supplements feel the best on your stomach and provide good fuel. There’s a huge variety of options, from drinks and gels to gummies and cookies, caffeine free to loaded with caffeine. Depending on a runner’s size (bigger = more fuel needed) and how hard you’re pushing on the course (walk/run needs less fuel, harder effort needs more), full marathoners typically need to consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour. Half marathoners typically need a bit less, but certainly benefit from supplementing with carbs on the course. Don’t wait till race day to determine your on-course fueling plan! More on the variety of fueling options at Charm City Run HERE.
Have you experimented with options for dinner the night before your race?
Race eve dinner can leave you feeling fueled and light the next morning, or you could feel bloated, heavy or--every runner's nightmare--plagued with GI issues. You're looking for a reasonably portioned meal with a decent source of carbs and some protein, but not too much in the way of fat and fiber. Again, it's important to consider where you'll be (at home vs away) and what's available.
Are you getting enough sleep?
If your training plan and diet are absolutely perfect, but you’re skimping on sleep, you’re missing out on the training effect. Much of the adaptation from all your work happens in your sleep.
Are you eating directly after your long runs to speed your recovery and prevent cravings?
Is your diet full of nourishing foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts & seeds, lean protein and whole grains?
Check in, see where you are, and continue to fine tune for a healthy training season and a fun and successful race day! And if you need support in fine tuning your diet this training season, talk to a professional (like me!) to ensure you’re at your best.
About the Author: Lauren Shafer
Lauren is a certified Health Coach who helps busy Baltimoreans articulate their health + wellness goals, and make measurable, sustainable diet and lifestyle changes for lasting transformation. Though she would never be described as athletic in her youth, Lauren started running as an adult, begrudgingly at first, until she discovered she actually enjoyed it. Now an 9-time marathoner and 4-time ultra-marathoner, you’ll frequently find Lauren running on roads and trails with her husband John and dog Osita.