Fueling yourself is the key to running successfully in a marathon. Participating in a half marathon involves many things, but one thing always remains of concern- diet before the half marathon. If you’re unsure which diet food will suit you and make you fit, keep reading this blog.
According to experts, you should add carbohydrates, protein, and fats to your diet to stay energetic before and during the race. You must begin their intake several days before the event so your body can store carbs in form of glycogen in the body and use it during the marathon.
Nutrition Before Half Marathon: Intake Of Nutrients
Nutrition is the main thing of concern to ponder. It is essential for maintaining your energy levels throughout the marathon. Experts suggest keeping the intake of carbs high, followed by less intake of fats and protein.
Carbohydrates are the powerhouse of the body. Many runners rely on it as carb intake prevents a drop in blood sugar level while running. In addition, our body can store it as glycogen in the muscles.
This glycogen supplies energy to the person in times of need. Not to mention, the more the mileage, the more your body will need the carbs. However, to maintain the carb intake, you can fulfill your intake from food sources such as whole grains, potatoes, and legumes.
On the other hand, the intake of carbs should be 45 to 55% and must come from sources such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have the beneficial nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals needed to recover from muscle injury caused due to intense activity.
Protein intake is not only necessary for weight lifters, but it’s important for runners too. Running for a half marathon is an intense activity involving facing injuries and muscle wear and tear. Protein intake comes to the rescue to fix the injuries and speeds up recovery.
Protein helps build lean muscle mass, and you can obtain it from food sources such as fish, eggs, and turkey. If you reduce the protein intake before the race days, you’ll lose the lean mass instead of building it.
When it comes to running long distances, there has to be backup fuel. Fat intake can serve your body as fuel in absence of carbs. Furthermore, fats are not the enemy, but there in take can help you feel full and supply energy. Not to forget, keep the intake less. The food sources include nuts, avocados, and chia seeds.
Other than carbs, fats, and protein, other nutrients support your body while running the marathon. They include:
- Iron: Iron is a major nutrient to add to your marathon training diet. It helps to transport oxygen to blood all around the body, and it comes in two forms, i-e, heme, and nonheme iron. Heme iron- you can obtain it from red meat, while nonheme comes from dried food sources such as nuts ( almonds, figs, etc.).
- Dietary Nitrates: Dietary nitrates present in food convert into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, also known as vasodilators, then widens the blood vessels in your body, which helps to keep the blood pressure low and increase its flow. Some nitrate-rich food includes carrot, beetroot, and green leafy vegetables. Adding beetroot or carrot juice to your diet will help elevate blood flow while running.
Practice Eating Before Marathon To Know What Suits Your Body
It’s in human nature that they adapt things quickly, and so are eating habits. Once your body gets used to a specific diet routine, changing it eventually will disrupt your stomach. Therefore, it’s important to practice consuming several foods before the day of the half marathon so you don’t have to suffer upset stomach issues later.
Try to add more carbs, less fat, and protein to your diet. Test different foods on yourself and see which ones suit you. Then, create a diet cycle and follow it until the half marathon is over. To prevent stomach issues, do not try to eat high-fiber foods a day before the race or on the day of the race.
Apart from food intake, keep a water bottle in hand while you practice running. It will keep you hydrated, and for your ease, you can carry a bottle with a handle. This will prevent the bottle from slipping off your hand.
What To Eat Almost A Week Before The Event?
According to experts, a week before a marathon is the right time to increase the intake of carbohydrates, but it doesn’t mean overeating carb-containing foods. Some people commit this mistake and end up feeling heavy or bloated. However, increasing carb intake here ensures you consume most of the calories from carbohydrates.
You can also add carbohydrates as a snack treat to your meal. You can combine protein powder shake with fruits, munch on a rice cake and oats, and add fruits to yogurt. In addition, you can practice having large meals during the day and fewer meals at night because feeding your body in small amounts is better than overloading it with calories.
What To Eat A Day Before Half Marathon?
Would you want to ruin your stomach a day before the marathon by not sticking to your diet routine? Of course, not. Like other days you will have to stick to the same breakfast routine followed by a balanced intake of carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
Sticking to the same routine will lead you to run a half marathon. Have a diet balanced in several nutrients. Furthermore, you can follow a simple routine like this.
- Breakfast: Oats with Cereal
- Lunch: Leafy Green Vegetables and Chicken
- Dinner: Fish, Rice, and Grilled Veggies
That said, avoid using high-fiber-containing foods, greasy foods, and alcohol a day before the race. Intake of such foods will upset your stomach and may disrupt your washroom routine.
Day Of The Event: What To Eat Before Half Marathon?
When the day of the marathon arrives, you will munch on the breakfast same as the other days. You will have to take breakfast a few hours before the marathon. In addition, make sure your morning meal includes whole grains.
The whole grains are easy to digest and provide energy so you can stay fit during the race. On the other hand, try to take a meal with yourself that is easy and quick to prepare. Taking along a portable meal will be good.
Moreover, stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and finish it before 45 minutes of the race so your gut can absorb it. Also, avoid overdrinking water; it will drop your blood sodium levels.
Taking in a little carbohydrate will do the job if you want to fuel your body right before the race starts. For that, you can have a banana, energy drink, or carb powder.
Things To Eat During Half Marathon
One of the important things to consider is what you eat. During the race, carrying a bag of food won’t be possible. So, look for the nearest food courts and grab the water to fulfill your water intake.
You can take a snack during the race, depending on the weather conditions. You can go for an energy drink or water mixed with electrolytes. About snacks, you can count on the carbs.
Nutritional Intake After The Race
Once the race is over, changes in your body occur and your body needs several nutrients to recover from the wear and tear caused during the race. As a result, include the following foods in your diet to aid your body’s recovery.
- Try to drink water first.
- Then go for a snack containing carbohydrates.
- Later you can enjoy a normal meal containing protein such as fish, pulses, meat, egg, etc.
Following the tips given above will help your body recover and make you fit like before. Post-race care is as necessary as pre-race care, so do not ignore it and follow it properly.
Tips To Follow & Avoid Before & During The Race
Running a marathon requires a person to be physically and psychologically fit. You can achieve both levels of fitness through proper food intake, a few tips to follow, and some mistakes to avoid.
Tips To Follow
For every marathon run, several things, if followed properly, lead you to success.
- Focus On Your Eating Plan: Don’t wait until the half-marathon day to start. Instead, start focusing on preparing a well-balanced meal plan that contains the necessary portion of carbs, protein, and fats. The carbs will fuel up your body, and the body will store it in the form of glycogen, while protein will build up your lean mass, and fats will help you absorb vital nutrients.
- Plan Out Your Large Meal: It’s better to plan your large meal and take it for lunch instead of dinner. Taking it at night will cause you a heavy feeling with an upset stomach. The meal for the night should be less so; try practicing large meals during lunch a week before the race.
- Plan Your Race Day Food: The meal you prepare for the race day should be prepared a week before. This way, your body will get used to it and ensure to consume carbs and protein 2 to 3 hours before the race. Plus, avoid high-fiber-containing foods. You can take low-fat milk, peanuts, fruit, or fruit smoothie. An hour before the race, you can consume moderate water and have energy gums.
- Add Mid-Race Carbs: During the race, you will need carbs to maintain your energy level—the foods you can take include bananas, figs, dry fruits, etc. In addition, you can drink water or sports drink after every fifteen minutes during the race, but don’t overconsume them.
- Keep Water Bottle: Water helps you stay hydrated throughout the race. Do not forget to carry it; taking it with electrolytes will benefit you even more. However, do not overdrink water but consume it in moderation.
Mistakes To Avoid
Many things go into preparing for a half marathon. With those things, people end up committing mistakes. You must avoid the following mistakes.
- Lack Of Motivation During Practise: Practicing for a marathon is tough; at one point, you will feel highly motivated. In contrast, your motivation will begin to fade at the other moment. Here you need to work on the “stay strong” advice and keep yourself mentally strong so nothing stops you from crossing the finish line.
- Avoiding Pain: You may have heard a stitch in time saves nine. The same goes for pain. Do not avoid the pain you experience during the training. Avoiding it will worsen the condition, thus making it hard for you to run further.
- Avoiding Walk In Your Running Routine: Running alone is not the key to pushing yourself to the finish line. If you combine walking with running, you will successfully finish the half marathon.
- Not Taking Proper Rest: Continuous running leaves you with immense exhaustion and tiredness. After the training, your body needs to rest. To help it recover, you must take a rest. Avoiding the rest will do you no good and make you weaker day by day.
Half run marathon is a big racing event, and many people participate yearly. Reaching the finish line requires immense effort with physical and mental fitness. You can work on both fitness levels by including healthy and well-balanced meals in your diet. The meal alone won’t benefit you, but practicing it with a healthy routine will help you succeed. If you’re serious about winning the marathon, follow the tips provided in the blog. Until then, happy reading.
- What can I eat the night before the half marathon?
- How much food can I eat before the race event?
- What should I avoid before the race?
- How should I energize myself before the half marathon happens?
- Can I load myself with carbs before a half marathon?
- Can I carry a water bottle for a half marathon?
You can take carbs like bread, pasta, and white rice. Avoid fiber-rich foods such as beans, whole grains, and legumes. Not to mention, munching on a bedtime carb snack like oatmeal will benefit you.
Glycogen storage is necessary a week before the half marathon. So, try consuming calories from carbohydrates several days before the marathon begins. You can consume around 55% of calories from carbs.
Try to wake up 3 hours before the race and eat a light meal containing carbohydrates. Avoid high-fiber-containing fruits and vegetables as they can interrupt digestion and cause trouble in your bathroom routine.
You can consume water, sports drinks, energy gels, or energy chews an hour before the race. This way you’ll be able to keep up your energy levels.
Practice carb loading before a long run is a wonderful idea. Since you won’t be running as far or as hard as you would before a race, you won’t need to carb load as much. However, concentrate on consuming approximately 25% more carbohydrates at each meal and snack the day before your big run.
Carrying a water bottle for a race is a good idea. Rehydrating after your race is crucial since proper hydration aids in recovery. Typically, it’s advised to consume 24 ounces of liquid for every pound of body weight lost throughout the race.
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