Getting your nutrition right on race day can help you work towards a PB and may even help to prevent you hitting the wall, or at least prolong the time it takes until you do! I have teamed up with our in-house nutritionist Sophie Heath to give you our top tips for fuelling your race.
1. Practice makes perfect
We can’t emphasise practice enough! Find out what works and what doesn’t for you. Everybody is different, and it is vital you work out some key things such as what you eat for breakfast, when you eat it, or what and when you eat during the race.
So, when you’re doing your long runs each week, test out some different breakfast ideas and tweak the perfect time to have it before your run, to ensure you give it enough time to digest before the race kicks off.
Similarly, to boost energy on the run some people can eat “real food” like homemade energy balls or malt loaf which is certainly my preference, but others may struggle and need to fuel with liquids. You need to find out what your body prefers. It’s critical to do this in training – never try anything new on race day. It’s not a time to experiment on your innards - you risk getting a debilitating stitch or worse which is never pleasant! Trust me, I’ve been there!
The recipe for Kate Percy’s Chia Seed & Apricot energy balls can be found here
2. It’s not just about race day
The build up to race day is important too! Making sure you’re eating a high-quality diet is vital to ensure your body is in tip top condition. Focussing on “real food” to fuel your training will lead to better adaptation to the training which means better progression … and more PB's! So get that chef hat on and prioritise cooking using quality whole foods that pack a nutritious punch. My Go Faster Food recipe book is a great place to start if you feel you need direction.
Remember to focus on a balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein and plenty of fruit & veg – this will give you the energy and nutrients needed to fuel your runs and recover quickly.
3. Prevent hitting the wall
Ok, so nutrition isn’t the only factor in play when it comes to hitting the wall – but you can certainly help prevent it by fuelling correctly. In ultra-endurance events the requirement for carbohydrate can go up to about 60-90g per hour and it’s important to keep on top of this – you don’t want to run out! If you have fuelled well in the lead up to the event you should be covered for the first hour or so, but you should aim to take on board around 30g of carbohydrate every 30 mins after this as a start point, and see how you go. Use a mixture of food and drinks, and see what works for you. Overfeeding can lead to GI discomfort, so again, make sure you practice with different formats!
Thanks agin for Kate and the team at Go Faster Food for their input.