Running and food go hand-in-hand.
And yes, we love to eat, but we are actually talking about running nutrition.
Having a nutrition strategy down pat during runs is essential for athletes. Chances are they have already experimented with what, when, and how much to consume during events like a half or full marathon.
But what about an endurance race? The longer the mileage, the more fuel we need.
It’s also equally important to make sure we eat the right things the night before an endurance event.
We need to be fueling our bodies properly to be prepared for the intense workout ahead. We also need to avoid anything to make us bloated or give us stomach problems.
So what should we eat the night before an endurance event?
The Night Before
Endurance athletes know the importance of carbohydrates. And if they are smart, they also know that carb loading happens two weeks leading to the endurance race. Carb loading needs to be done alongside tapering.
This does not mean just eating a pasta dinner the night before. It’s done to fill glycogen (the body’s preferred source of fuel) stores in the muscles. Athletes need to get about 141 grams of carbohydrates per meal.
Even though carbohydrate should be increased leading up to the race, the meal the night before the endurance-based event should also include carbs.
Try quinoa, couscous, rice, or potatoes which are all explains of carbs that are easily digested. And yes, this includes pasta.
Do not overly stuff oneself on carbs. Just stick to that healthy portion of the carb that worked well the night before training runs.
Equally important is protein. Aim to consume 12 to 15 percent of daily calories from protein. This helps to keep glucose levels balanced to prevent a drop in blood sugar.
Dinner should include chicken or fish, not steak that is high in fat. Fat should be avoided in general since it is not a source of fuel for the muscles. Plus it takes longer to digest and can cause stomach cramping.
This means not eating carbs like pizza or donuts the night before.
Other protein sources include beans, peas, lentils, eggs or yogurt.
Avoid consuming too much fiber to prevent the promotion of using the bathroom.
What To Eat During An Endurance Event
While we are talking about race nutrition, it’s important to discuss mid-race fuel.
It’s almost more important to get race nutrition down to a science. Being properly fueled means preventing hitting the dreaded “wall” that occurs when glycogen stores run out.
Endurance athletes need to consume some form of carbohydrates during the event. Combined with proper hydration, this will replenish glycogen so that the athletes have increased stamina to be able to continue the race without bonking.
What to eat? Most athletes opt for sports nutrition performance products such as Kramp Krusher energy chews.
And Kramp Krushers is a popular option among endurance athletes for multiple reasons.
For starters, these chews contain all-natural ingredients and are non-GMO. It contains sea salt electrolytes that hydrate and adds to its tangy taste. It also has 84 trace minerals including magnesium and potassium to further enhance performance.
With calcium lactate, Kramp Krushers eliminate muscle cramping before it even occurs. This is crucial for endurance races when muscles as used past the point of fatigue.
It’s also easy on the stomach and contains the carbs, sugar, and sodium needed for intense workouts.
Just make sure to consume five chews before the race. Then chew another five every hour of racing or training.
One serving of ten pieces has 38g of carbohydrates. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, athletes need anywhere between 30 and 60 grams per hour.
However, how much the endurance athlete needs is based on their level of fitness, workout intensity, and body size.
Combine Kramp Krushers with a sports drink for added carbs. Other sources of carbs for fueling mid-event include a banana, honey, raisins, half of a bagel or even baby food.
Just keep in mind that whole foods take time to digest. The idea is to get fast absorbing carb in, so be on top of nutrition or reach for those energy chews.
Interestingly enough, having an empty stomach aids in absorbing fuel faster when it comes to endurance races. Hunger pains aren’t the first signs of hitting the wall. So continue to fuel, but with fast-absorbing options.
Make sure to also get some form of electrolytes in for endurance races that are more than 3 hours. This includes sodium, potassium, and calcium. Reach for those Kramp Krushers again for this one.
Adjust this to weather like heat when the athlete is sweating more.
Make sure to hydrate before, during and after the event. And celebrate the victory with a nice, big post-race meal.