Here are several steps to follow:
- Eat well as you train hard. Help yourself by preparing adequate meals of nutritious foods you already like.
- Experiment to find out what foods go down well, allow you to run well and don’t return to haunt you during the run or later. Many runners eat small frequent meals on days with intense workouts.
- Limit your intake of high-fiber foods before long runs. It moves quickly through the digestive tract.
- Skew your diet towards carbohydrates, cutting down just a little on proteins and fats, but never over-react to the point of eating poorly.
- Drink all the time, but mostly water. How much water is enough? We would recommend enough water to produce a clear urine sample every time you use the bathroom. Especially during your training, that can easily be 3 liters/day. Restrict your intake of caffeinated beverages and alcohol as both are diuretics which will increase your loss of water.
- Eat a regular meal the night before the race. Eat familiar foods that are easy to digest, focusing more on carbs than fat or proteins. You do not need to carb load the night before a 10k race. Many runners like to top off their glycogen stores by feasting on carbs. However, you do not deplete your stores in a 10k race, that occurs in longer races only. Flooding your system with more carbs than it can process may lead to digestive problems that will have you running to the port-a-potty every mile.
- Eat a small meal two to three hours before you race. Pre-race breakfast ideas include:
Thinly sliced bagel with a smear of nut butter and ½ cup berries
Fruit Smoothie made with low-fat milk or yogurt and berries with half of an English Muffin
Low-fiber, low-sugar cereal with a banana and skim milk
30-60 minutes before the event, fuel up with water, a sports gel or a piece of fruit.
Tell us about your first 10K experience in the comment section below. What were your training triumphs or nutritional train-wrecks?
Are you running in the Monument 10K in Richmond on March 29th? Tell us about it!