With less than 24hrs to go until the big race, preparation thoughts can now turn to getting your nutrition right so you are optimally fuelled for your event. While ensuring that your muscles stores of glycogen are at their best, for the more recreational athletes, this does not mean you have to carb load as if you are a marathon runner to prepare. All you need is a couple of light, carbohydrate rich options later today as well as a good pre run breakfast to get the most out of your run.
While events that are longer than 90 minutes of high intensity such as marathon running or triathlon do warrant a carb load, shorter events simply need a good meal the night before and morning of an event.
Today choose carb rich options for both your lunch and dinner to ensure you top your muscle fuel stores up tonight. Good options include some pasta or noodles with a little lean chicken or fish, a few vegetables with a large glass of 100% juice to go with.
Next but most importantly it is imperative that you do eat something before the run, and high GI carbs such as bananas, sports drinks and lollies will not cut it, as their energy peak will last just 30-60 minutes, and it is likely to be several hours before you actually start your event.
Light but carb rich breakie options that will not sit on your tummy include a plain breakfast cereal such as Weetbix and skim milk, some peanut butter or eggs on toast or a liquid meal such as a mixed juice or smoothie. If you find that you really struggle to eat before a run, try a small amount of an energy bar or even a skim milk coffee. Ideally we will eat something 90-120 minutes before a run to get us through the hour or so of running/walking. If though you do need to get out of bed at the crack of dawn to make it into the city, you may need a top up snack an hour or so before you run. Good options include 1 slice of white bread with peanut butter, small skim milk coffee, protein/carb energy bar or a liquid drink such as a homemade smoothie.
Most importantly is the need to keep well hydrated. Drink plenty of water today and if you are prone to cramping, add some Hydralyte to your water bottle to help prevent cramps as well as aid hydration. Remember, for the vast majority of us, sports drinks are not necessary and are simply giving you extra calories that you are likely to actually wanting to burn during the big race. Stick to water, take a bottle with you to sip on before the run and enjoy every minute of the race you have worked so hard to prepare for.