Nutrition is key when training for a race. Following the guidelines of the Canada Food Guide is the best advice.
Carbohydrates are your muscles energy source. The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, in your liver and muscles. A small amount is stored in the form of glucose in the blood.
Smart nutrition includes variety, moderation and wholesomeness. Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water a day. Eat carbohydrates to avoid depleting the glycogen in your muscles. After you run, consume some carbohydrates. Eat proteins and fats in moderation. Think of carbohydrates as the main part of your meal and proteins as the condiments.
In restaurants, avoid deep fried foods and high fat dining. Eat iron rich foods such as red meats, dark green vegetables, breads and cereals. As a runner, carbohydrates should make up 55-65% of your total energy intake. Proteins about 10– 5% and fats less than 30%.
What to eat on race day? Nothing out of the ordinary, that’s for sure. This is not the time to experiment, no matter what you may have heard about the latest athletic superfoods. In fact, you might want to eat less than normal on race day morning, since nervousness could upset your digestive system. Your last meal before the event should occur at least three hours before the race starts.
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John Stanton is the President and Founder of the Running Room. He is the author of 10 books about running, walking and family fitness.