Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reason #43: Pre-Race Breakfast and Taper Talk

I have genuinely been making an effort to taper this last week before the race. Without any long runs scheduled, I was planning on unwinding, relaxing, and having all this extra time to blog...or so I thought. Now that I declared my evenings "free", I have had a week full of invitations to happy hour(s)and social activities. I passed on some events as I realized I was training for a race, not a pub crawl. But it got me thinking about how many opportunities have I passed up due to a scheduled run or planned workout? Monday I passed up a last minute invitation to the Tribeca Film Festival (regret it as I could have been hanging out with Jack Byrnes Robert DiNero and Julianne Margulies), Tuesday I met a college friend for dinner and drinks in the Financial District, today I passed on a coworker's bridal/happy hour celebration, and tomorrow I have a law firm party at the 21 Club. A coworker recently asked me "don't you ever wonder what you would be doing with all that free time if you weren't running?" Well apparently the answer to him after this week would be well, drinking...

Clearly balance is extremely important whether it be with work/life, relaxation/training, and socialization/alone time. After a day full of working with colleagues, speaking with clients, commuting with mass amounts of people, I find running to be my alone time. A break. A treat. An activity I can do under my own power, at my own pace, wherever I want to go and as fast or slow as I care to run.

Now aside from tapering, in preparation for a half-marathon race, I have learned it is quite important to pay extra attention to what you eat. For me, the breakfast before a race is crucial to how I perform. From past experience, I have suffered from eating too quickly (stomach ache), eating the wrong food (stomach ache), and eating too little (dizziness). The pre-race meal has the ability to ruin your race or at least hurt your performance. Yet the right foods, consumed at the right times, can give you the energy to run the distance.

When should you eat? The ideal time for a morning meal is approximately two to three hours before the race. The size of your pre-race meal depends on 1) the duration of your race, 2) your size, and 3) the timing of the meal. Considering I will be eating approximately two hours before the race, I am shooting for 300-400 calories.

What should you eat? Now is not the time to try anything exotic or new. Eat foods that your system can digest easily. At least 80% of the calories you consume in the pre-race meal should come from carbohydrates. Keep protein, fat, and fiber consumption low. Those nutrients take up space that are better utilized by carbohydrate. Additionally, a common practice is to drink 6-10 ounces of fluid about two hours before the race.

Below are a few items I have found to be the most popular for runners:

Bland, carbo loaded, and familiar. Eat it plain or with little amount of cream cheese, peanut butter, or jelly.

Once again almost all carbohydrates. One banana has 30g carbs, 1g of protein, no fat, and lots of potassium (which is lost in sweat during running).

Energy Bars:
PowerBar and ClifBars are both high in carbs and low in fiber, fat, and protein. Look for bars that contain useful amounts of nutrients to be used during the race.

Some runners choose to drink Boost or Ensure due to their nutrition profile. If you are looking to make your own concotion, just make sure it is high in carbs and low in protein, fat, and fiber.

Full of carbohydrates and quite filling. Try it with some almonds or walnuts and a banana.

And what if you are a coffee drinker? If you are, don’t change anything! Simply have your coffee with your meal or at least an hour before the race.

Should you eat during the race?
The first hour does not require food just water breaks. After the first hour, it’s time to give your body some fuel in the form of sports drink, shot block, gel pack. The goal is 25-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. 1 gel pack or 16 ounces Gatorade = 25 grams.

Hope this helps!

On another note, a big thank you to Dori from Dori's Shiny Blog. She had a contest giveaway, and I was the lucky winner. A review of the prize (total body exercise bands, Omega-3 Vitamins, Dark chocolate treat by Godiva, and Gourmet cinnamon almonds all packaged in an Envirosax reusable tote) is to come!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the big win! Very cool! Good luck in your race this weekend. I'll be cheering for you from my couch. LOVE YOU!