Race Day Success - Nutritional Strategies for Runners
To get the best out of your nutrition and running performance, you should have a specific food plan starting 6-7 days before a race. Using a modified carbohydrate super compensation strategy will support you in optimising muscle glycogen storage in the week prior to a race.
On race day you’ll need to consider what to eat and most crucially the timing of pre-race food and how to manage food and ergogenic aids during a race. The final phase of your nutritional plan take place after the finish line. We look at what to eat immediately after a race, and for the 6-8 hours afterwards to ensure you are replenishing glycogen stores and promoting muscle protein synthesis.
This strategy and plan must be practiced and refined in training so please don’t wait until just before your race to try this. Practice! Practice! Practice! We don't cover hydration in this episode but please remember this is key to success as well as what you eat.
An introduction to race day success and busting the myths around pasta parties and some insights into the pros and cons of carbohydrate super compensation as a strategy to optimise muscle glycogen storage.
Strategies to optimise liver glycogen storage pre-race i.e. timing of food on race day.
The potential for rebound or reactive or transient hypoglycaemia, how to recognise the symptoms and what to do to manage it.
Addressing practical issues around eating and getting to the start line fully satiated and carbohydrate replete.
Tips on managing food and energy intake during a race.
Managing food and energy intake during a race – what to eat and when.
What to eat after the finish line to promote recovery and enhance muscle protein synthesis.
The Key Takeaways from this episode:
- Tapering of exercise and nutrition is important in the week leading up to a race
- Reducing CHO intake to 50% of total macronutrient intake for the first 3 days then increasing to 70% for last 3 days is thought to be optimal for supporting performance on race day
- Have a substantial pre-race meal 3-5hrs before the start then a quick release CHO snack within the hour before the race begins
- Choose natural products wherever possible to fuel your run
- Train the digestive system to receive food immediately following the race.
- Regular protein and CHO combined meals/snacks up to 6hrs after the race will help enhance glycogen repletion plus Muscle Protein Synthesis, muscle recovery and reduce risk of DOMs and injury
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell met at as nutrition students (Institute for Optimum Nutrition, London) and became lifelong friends and nutritional buddies! Both have a love of running and a passion for nutrition, delicious food and healthy living.
Together they host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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Aileen and Karen
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