While training is extremely important in preparing for a race, your diet leading up to the big day is just as important. Maintaining a healthy diet helps build energy, while also providing your body with proteins and nutrients it so desperately needs. During your workout, your body is placed under extreme stress and it’s up to you to keep your body healthy. Here are some tips to maintaining a healthy diet while you’re training for the big day!
Adding Color To Your Diet
Nothing beats a proper diet like adding a bit of color. And, by color we mean fruits and vegetables. It’s no secret that fruit and vegetables are good for you—they’re high in vitamins and fiber. They also supply your body with natural sugars that will give you the energy needed to complete your workout without being sluggish the rest of the day.
Aim to eat five different colored foods daily. Whether it’s an orange, banana or spinach, it’s important to incorporate the proper nutrients in your diet. These power foods can help your body rebuild muscles, and ultimately increase your endurance and stamina. But, be careful not to pack too much fiber hours before the race. Many runners make the mistake of loading up on fiber the day before, which can cause an upset stomach, and could negatively impact your performance on the big day.
Don’t Forget the Protein
While carbs are important, it’s vital to eat protein on your diet as well. In fact, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends that athletes eat about 75 grams to 120 grams of protein a day. Protein helps the muscles heal during strenuous exercises and keeps the body healthy. Studies have shown that high protein consumption helps build stronger immune systems, which is something you might want to consider if you’re catching a cold. It’s dangerous to work out while sick, so consuming an appropriate amount of proteins is beneficial for you’re overall health.
You can find your essential proteins in poultry, legumes, seeds or grains. Right before your run, opt for energy bars, oatmeal or nuts to give you some energy, but it’s recommended you reduce consumption of fatty proteins due to the negative effects it has on the body while running. So, find light foods that sit well with your body before you train and can easily digest. The last thing you want is to be eating fatty or high fiber foods right before you run.
The most important tip is to stay hydrated. When exercising, your body loses a lot of energy and water helps transport those nutrients to give you energy. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body cannot perform at its highest level causing you to be fatigued or dizzy.
Make sure you’re drinking enough fluids before, during, and after your workout. According to the American Council of Exercise, it’s recommended that women consume 2.7 liters daily and men consume 3.7 liters daily through water and food. If you’re very active or in hot weather the consumption should be:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before the start of exercise.
- Drink 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise.
- Drink 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost after exercise.
If you begin to overheat, pause your activity and slowly sip fluids to rehydrate. Keep in mind that rehydration occurs faster in fluids that have electrolytes or sodium.
Training can get you in the best condition, but without a proper diet and lots of water you won’t perform at your highest potential. Just remember it’s important to train before a race, but it’s better to do so safely.