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What to eat before the big race

Got an event coming up soon? Having pushed and punished yourself for months on end, the last thing you want to do now is start experimenting with new workouts or food in the days leading up to the race.

Eating the correct food and fully hydrating before race day is vital to help you perform and achieve your goals. A pre-race meal is a key aspect of any event, and our simple tips will help you stay energised throughout.

For tips and advice on how to keep fit and avoid injuries before and after the big race, take a look at YouTube channel. But back to the food…

1. Eat a light pre-race breakfast

If your race is in the morning, have a meal of around 200-300 calories 1-2 hours beforehand. The majority of calories should come from whole, unprocessed carbs. Try to keep the meal low in fibre and fat as both take a long time to digest. Aim for under 10 grams of fibre per serving and limit fat to five to 10 grams.

Experiment with a range of foods before training so you know what works (or doesn’t work) for you. Try to build up a selection of different meals – here are some examples:

-Bagel with a selection of fruit (banana, apple, raspberries, strawberries)

-Bowl of granola with yoghurt

-Bowl of porridge topped with fruit and honey

2. No need to stock up on carbs the night before

Carb-loading (increasing your intake of carbohydrate foods while cutting back on protein/fat in the days before a race) is aimed at events of 90 minutes or longer so it’s a good idea to stock up on carbohydrates a few days before the race. Try adding an extra element to your diet – for example, sweet potato, pasta, baked potato, brown rice, sandwiches, bagels with peanut butter, quinoa, whole grains, oatmeal. Your last big meal should be two nights before the race, to give your body ample time to digest everything. If you attempt to carb-load before a race, you’ll end up with lots of calories that you don’t need, and you could feel very bloated.

3. Have a light pre-race snack

If you feel hungry on the way to the race, have a small snack of 150-250 calories. This will stop the hunger without filling you up (a small banana or a yoghurt is ideal). Alternatively, have some energy sweets or an energy bar for quick fuel that’s easy to digest.

4. Don’t try anything new

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that’s worked for you during regular training – race day is certainly not the time to try anything new. You need to something that makes you feel energised but won’t leave you with an upset stomach.

5. Don’t forget the fluids

Be sure to wash down your pre-race meal with plenty of fluids. Aim to consume 500-600ml of fluids 2-3 hours before the race, and another 200-300ml about 20 minutes before the race begins. It’s okay to have coffee, tea or a sports drink if you regularly drink those before runs. It’s best to sip water throughout the days before the race, and avoid drinking large amount of fluid right before the start.

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