You’ve been training like mad and it’s crunch time; you’re down to the wire, and the big race is tomorrow. You’ve got your gear ready, but now it’s dinnertime, and you’re stumped. What should be on your plate for your race-eve dinner? Does it even matter? Nutritionists and trainers say yes. Race-eve dinners are a key to race-day performance.
What you eat for dinner the night before your big race can make a difference in your performance. Some experts say, a very big difference.
While some trainers recommend loading up the body’s energy stores with a meal that’s heavy in carbohydrates, that’s not always sage advice. In fact, more and more athletes find that the best pre-race-day dinner is much lighter and includes a well-rounded menu that fuels the body up without dragging you down.
Just a few years ago, the advice was to “carbo-load” for dinner the night before to top off your glycogen stores. Today, we suggest that you forego the heavy dinner you had planned, and go for one of these four lighter alternatives instead:
- Plain pasta with baked chicken breast and vegetables.
- Pasta of your choice with grilled fish and vegetables.
- Rice and lean ground turkey burger.
- Steamed vegetables and rice.
You might also choose to add low-fat yogurt or fruit salad as a dessert. These are easy to digest, but many fruit peals are high in fibre, so peal apples, peaches and pears before eating. Bananas are super easy to digest.
A snack of rice cakes topped with jam or honey before bed is also light and filling. The best advice? Steer clear of any fried or processed foods the night before your event.
Are you active and healthy? Can you run a half or full marathon? Is your family medical history pretty good? You may qualify for the best rates on life insurance. Up to 50% less than rates paid by more than 70% of people. Get a no-obligation quote to see just how inexpensive life insurance can be.
The Morning of the Race
What you eat the morning of the race is likewise important. In general, keep your pre-race breakfast light, and aim to eat it around 3 hours before the firing of the starter’s pistol. Choose foods that release carbs slowly, including oats topped with a handful of berries, wholegrain toast or a bagel.
Avoid overly fatty foods that might cause stomach upset or make you sluggish. Do not consume any new foods the night before or the morning of the race, since you want to make sure that your stomach doesn’t give you problems that affect your performance.
During the Race
Your body becomes depleted of necessary energy-powering nutrients while you run, so keeping fueled up for longer races lasting more than 60 minutes is important. Ensure your carb intake (and thus, available expendable energy) with sports drinks or a banana during your race, aiming for a carb-load for each hour you’re running.
At the Finish Line
Win or lose, once you cross the finish line, remember to rehydrate. Sports drinks to replace any lose fluids, carbs and electrolytes are important to your body’s recovery. Also think about taking along some post-race protein snacks to initiate the muscle tissue repair process and bananas for boning up on your potassium to reduce muscle cramps – both of which make it possible for you to get back in the game more quickly and get a jumpstart on your next race.