Whether you’re a beginner, middle-distance or long-distance runner, if you want to perform at your best, serious competition nutrition is essential. Of course, there are some safeguards that can help you run faster, develop more endurance, and recover better after training. In this comprehensive nutrition guide, you’ll learn what to eat before your run so you can prepare for it in the best way possible. We’ll also give you tips on what to eat during the race so you don’t hit your energy limit, and what to eat after the race to boost energy and shorten recovery time.
What should you eat before the race?
What you eat before a workout can have a positive effect on your exertion during the race, but it can also decrease your speed. Try not to eat foods high in fiber and fat before your workout. They are harder to digest and cause stomach upset. Also, wait about three hours after a large meal before exercising (focusing on carbohydrates and protein). Eat snacks low in fiber and sugar 30 to one hour before your run. For more than an hour of highly focused exercise or more than an hour and a half of moderate exercise, you need about 30-60 grams of starch per hour. Replenish your glycogen stores in advance; this will give you the energy you need.
Excellent pre-race snack (about 50 grams of sugar):
two slices of toast with nectar or jam
two low-fiber cereal bars
75 g of dried organic products (e.g. apricots)
Be careful not to try any new foods before the run. Stick to what you know is safe to eat. Also, make sure you drink enough. In most cases, water can solve your problems, but you can also drink a high-quality sports drink to rehydrate yourself. If you don’t drink enough fluids before or during exercise, your exertion will suffer. If you want to know how much you need to drink to meet your own fluid needs, you can find out with our calculator.
What should you eat during the race?
To avoid dryness and exhaustion, it’s important to stay hydrated for an extended period of time (more than 60 minutes). A study by the University of Connecticut found that even the slightest lack of fluids (< 2% weight loss) can seriously weaken endurance and lead to a lack of hydration.
Do you run more than 10 kilometers? For every hour of exercise, you should consume 600 to 1000 milliliters of water and electrolyte drinks.
Also, be sure to replenish your glycogen stores with carbohydrates (30-60 grams per hour). Be prepared to take energy gels or sugary soft drinks with you on the trip.
Sports drinks for various exercises:
For moderate exercise (< 60 minutes): 80 ml multivitamin syrup + 920 ml water + a pinch of table salt.
Intense exercise (> 60 minutes): 70 ml natural product syrup + 930 ml mineral water (non-carbonated) + 20 g maltodextrin + a pinch of salt.
What should you eat after a race?
Need to recharge your battery after a strenuous activity? Eat a snack with complex carbohydrates and protein (3:1 ratio) in the hour after the race to recharge your energy. This will help you replenish your glycogen stores and speed up recovery. However, be careful not to eat too much, as a big dinner will spoil your stomach.
Great post-workout snacks:
Individual smoothie made with mango and chia seeds for after your workout.
A bowl of cereal with milk and organic dry goods.
A vegetable omelet and a slice of whole-wheat bread.
Looking for more tips and nutrition plans for the Games? Check out our blog for more ideas to take your activity to the next level.