Women’s Mini Marathon Nutrition Tips- Week 5: Final preparations
What you have being eating and drinking in recent weeks will really have made a big difference to your performance on the big day. Consistently eating a well-balanced diet with adequate energy intake is essential for maintaining health and maximising training effects. Now it’s time to fine tune your diet in the last week before the race.
The week before the race:
The aim this week is to eat sufficient carbohydrate (stored as glycogen) to fill your muscles with the fuel they will need for the race. This will help you to keep going for longer before getting tired. Here are some important points to consider in the week leading up to the race
- Aim to get most of your calories from carbohydrates by choosing large portions of carbohydrate-rich foods such as cereals, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes (refer to article 2 for best choices). Carbohydrates eaten with some protein (best sources being meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, pulses, milk) or healthy fat will give a longer, slower energy release compared with carbohydrates on their own
- Take small frequent meals
- Keep well hydrated by drinking at least 2 litres of water per day
The day before race day:
Muscle glycogen stores should be almost fully stocked. Your goal for the day is to top-up your glycogen stores and stay well hydrated.
- Eat little and often throughout the day, include carbohydrate based foods at every meal
- Don’t over indulge the night before a race as you may feel sluggish the next day
- Don’t try anything new!!! Eat only foods that you know agree with you and eat them in normal sized amounts
- Avoid alcohol
- Some people find avoiding gas forming foods e.g. baked beans and other pulses, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), bran cereals and spicy foods, the night before the race, helps avoid any feelings of discomfort e.g. wind or bloating.
- Keep a water bottle nearby so you remember to drink regularly throughout the day
On race day:
By now your glycogen stores should be fully stocked and you should feel ready to go!
- It takes 3-4 hours for food to digest so since the race begins at 2pm, have your breakfast or lunch at 10am
- Carbohydrate rich foods such as porridge, cereal, potatoes, pasta, toast and fruit are good choices. Include a little protein or healthy fat to give a slow steady energy release.
- Drink at least 500ml of water during the 2 hours before the race and then another 125-250ml just before the race
During the race:
- Aim to drink about 125-250ml water every 20 minutes (approx 6 mouthfuls). You may need more if it is a hot or humid day. A drinks station is located at approximately 6.5km.
After the race:
You need to replenish your fluid losses and depleted glycogen stores-especially important if you want to move around without difficulty the next day!
- Drink approximately 500ml water little and often in the 30 minutes following the race and then keep taking mouthfuls every 5-10 minutes until you are passing fairly clear urine again
- Choose a high carbohydrate snack within the first 30 minutes e.g. cereal bar, yoghurt drink, dried fruit and nuts, jam sandwich. Including a little protein will speed up glycogen recovery
- Continue eating a similar sized snack every 2 hours until a main meal. It takes at least 24 hours to replenish glycogen stores after a short run
- Careful not to over-eat
Examples of suitable meal options are outlined below:
- Porridge with low fat milk and a piece of fruit
- Fruit scone with low fat spread and jam
- Pasta with a tomato-based sauce
Sandwich / roll / wrap filled with chicken / ham / egg / tuna
- Jacket potato filled with tuna / baked beans / low fat cheese
- Banana and low-fat yoghurt
Finally, big congratulations to all of you for putting in the hard work over recent weeks. We hope you have found the nutrition articles useful in your training regimen. Best of luck on Monday and enjoy the day!
Read our previous nutrition and fitness blogs: