Ever wonder what in the world you need to be fueling your body with as you're training for a half or full marathon? What to eat the morning before a big race? How long before the race to eat? When you should bring nutrition along for run?
I hate to say it, but it's all personal. Each person is different in how they can stomach certain foods and what they are able to handle on the run. There are plenty of articles on the internet and in magazines that suggest different ways to fuel depending on what you're training for. My advice would be to use this information as a basic guideline and listen to your body to see what works for you.
For me personally, I still don't have it all figured out yet! LOL. Each training cycle for me is a guessing game. What I do know is- I can't eat too much for dinner the night before, I have to eat at least an hour and a half before a long run or race, my gut HATES gel packs that have caffeine, and I need to have plenty of electrolytes the day before (because I sweat like a man LOL). My issues are normally GI related with having to "go" on the run with stomach pain and cramping. High maintenance gut, right? I think so. But, to me, running is worth the crazy equation I need to solve to make it all right. Each training cycle I learn more about what products I can handle and what works for my body while running and racing.
One piece of advice that I will throw out there though (that has some major truth to it) is that carb loading is not really necessary! Unless you've had little to no carbs over the past few weeks and reintroduce them a few days prior to a race or long training run, it will do you no good. That pasta dinner the night before a race will only make you feel sluggish, bloated, and give you more of a reason to hit the potty along the way. What I do suggest is adding a little more complex carbs (sweet potatoes, whole grains, fruits, veggies) to your diet about 2-3 days prior to a half or full marathon (no need for any shorter race). On race day, you can top off those glycogen stores with something like a white bagel (simple carb-immediate energy release)with a tbsp of pb.
What works for some doesn't work for all. Always use your training runs as practice for race day. Try out different products and see what you can stomach and what you can and can't. It's all a balancing act to find your sweet spot. Write down everything and all of the products you've tried. Listen to your body on those runs and make changes accordingly. Every runner is trying to find the perfect nutrition equation- even the elites! Hang in there, ya'll...we're in this crazy running thing together!
Until next time,
Some of my favorite products/nutrition that I currently use are : NUUN Hydration, UCan protein powder, Kombucha, Juice Plus, Huma Gel packs, Wild Crafted (adaptogenic collection), and Vital Proteins
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