Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Do You Have a Plan?

Many individuals are gearing up for the Saskatchewan Marathon on May 26 in Saskatoon (or other events across the province).  Since that's only 12 days away you should already know your nutrition plan or be fine tuning it.  As I've said before, don't experiment or try new foods/beverages on race day.

Depending on which distance you choose to run, you may need to focus on your hydration, carbohydrates, electrolytes or all three.  It's important to remember to taper your training leading up to the event and continue to include wholesome foods such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, low fat milk alternatives and of course, everyone's favourite - WATER!

Don't just think about your nutrition when you wake up on race day.  You've put in the training time to work on your pace, your stride, injury prevention, etc.  Make sure you put in the time to get your gut used to taking in water and/or carbohydrate sources while you're on the go and determining what meets your needs and feels comfortable for you. 

Once you get into the longer distances you need to include enough carbohydrates to avoid "hitting the wall" or "bonking".  Your muscles and brain require carbohydrates and the longer and harder you run, the more you require.

Start your day with a carbohydrate rich breakfast (that you've practiced with!).  Then follow your plan during the race.  Burke et. al (2011) recommends no carbohydrate needed for less than 45 minutes, a small amount of carbohydrate (including a mouth rinse) for activities lasting 45-75 minutes and 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour for endurance activities lasting 1-2.5 hours.  You have many choices when it comes to food, beverage, or products in both liquid and solid form.  Go with what you know, what works for you, and what fits with your goal(s).

There are many sport products you may try or choose to use, but you can also rely on food and get the benefits of nutrients as well.  These 'sport foods' are often convenient, but not required.  The main thing is to avoid dehydration and provide your muscles with easily digested energy (carbohydrates) since your body has limited storage for carbohydrates (glycogen).  We all have different sweat rates, so it's important to focus on replacing your own losses, especially if the temperatures stay up.

What's your race day nutrition plan?

I like to start my morning with simple peanut butter and toast with a small piece of fruit or small glass of diluted juice (1/2 juice and 1/2 water).  During the race I focus on regular sips of water which I find very energizing and then I enjoy yogurt with berries or chocolate milk as a recovery (while continuing to sip on water!).

Plan well, run well!

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching