From the Desk of Leket Israel Nutritionist Smadar Hod Ovadia
Food is fuel for our body: what we eat affects our body’s ability to function. Eating right before a long run is an essential factor in determining your performance. Running challenges your body and requires stamina; eating correctly and making good, healthy choices on the day of the run will ensure you feel at your best both during and after the activity. The following are suggestions for healthy eating before a marathon. It is important to note that each person’s body digests food differently and the following are mere suggestions but not requirements:
3-4 hours before running
As with all aerobics activities, running primarily burns carbs. Therefore, it is important to consume complex carbohydrates prior to running which produces long-term energy. An additional benefit of eating carbohydrates is that their ease to digest won’t cause discomfort while running as you may experience after eating foods containing high fiber content.
WHAT TO EAT: Pair a carb (such as a sandwich, pasta, rice, couscous, potato) with a protein and vegetable; avoid fatty foods prior to running which can slow you down and cause discomfort.
30-60 minutes before running
If you will be running for more than a 30 minute stretch, it is recommended to have a light snack beforehand such as an energy bar or fresh or dried fruit. For those running 10k or longer you should also drink diluted juice (with a 1:4 ratio).
Some advise drinking a small espresso an hour before the run since caffeine increases energy, stamina and leads to better results; other opinions completely disagree with this sentiment.
30-60 minutes after running
After completing your run (you did it!) it is best to eat food rich in carbohydrates and protein. Carbs will restore energy while protein will help build muscle.
WHAT TO EAT: Eat a balanced meal of proteins and carbs such as yogurt with granola
As with all physical activity, it is important to drink plenty of water to stay energized. Be sure to not drink too much as it will cause discomfort and heaviness.
It is best to drink 10 minutes before running and during the course of the run to drink a cup of water every 20 minutes and to drink at least a ½ liter of water throughout.
- Eat a meal 2 hours before the run
- Have a light snack right before running
- Reenergize with a meal 30 minutes after the run
For more nutrition tips in preparation for the marathon visit the following linkCLICK HERE