Running a half-marathon requires a lot of training and proper nutrition is essential for you to do your best on the day. The foods you eat leading up to and on the day of your race are important and play an active part in your performance. During the days leading up to the run, focus on including plenty of complex carbohydrates in to your diet. Foods such as whole-grain breads, cereals, potatoes, pasta & rice are a great source of complex carbohydrates.
Oats with fruit and nuts or brown toast topped with peanut butter and a banana are great breakfast energy boosters and will set you up for your morning workout. For lunch and dinner eat pasta dishes, a baked potato or vegetable curry & rice.
Include snacks throughout the day such as yogurt topped with fruit and granola, crackers and cheese, or half of a sandwich.
On the day of your run
Your breakfast on the day of the half-marathon should be high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein and relatively low in fat. Running on a full stomach can be uncomfortable but running on empty will not get you over the finish line.
Eat breakfast two to four hours before the start of your race. I recommend a bagel or pancakes, fruit toast, a cooked egg, cereal and milk with fresh fruit, or low-fat yogurt and fruit – something that will give you a slow release of energy. Also drink plenty of water or sports drink in this time – you need to be taking on plenty of fluid before, during and after the run. Not enough fluid on board and you could suffer from cramps.
After a half marathon, the muscles need protein for repair and complex carbohydrates to restore lost glycogen stores. A smoothie is a good choice and will help you begin your recovery. Almond butter, milk, blueberries, flaxseed powder and yogurt provide a variety of nutrients and fluids and are the ingredients for a delicious smoothie.
A balanced meal within two to four hours after the race is essential for recovery. Complete nutrient recovery frequently takes as long as 72 hours. A meal that includes a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats is ideal after the race. Roasted salmon with mashed potatoes or chicken & pita bread with salad and olive oil or avocado are my go-to meals.
And of course, you have to have dessert! Enjoy a sorbet or frozen yoghurt (after all, it’s the little treats that keeps us going!)
Good luck with your training.
Lois x Eden Fitness Instructor