When training for a long event, such as the City to the Sea Half-Marathon, you need to be especially mindful of your nutrition and fluid intake. Eating the right foods can dramatically help your training and performance on race day, so follow our simple tips below for healthy eating and hydrating. Remember—just because you’re burning a lot of calories on your runs doesn’t mean you have license to eat whatever you want! Think of food as fuel – good quality food, and the right kinds, will help your performance, just as high-quality gasoline helps your car run better.
Similarly, your hydration before, during, and after runs is very important (particularly in warm weather). Read on to get some great tips so that you can perform your best, come race day.
High-Quality Carbohydrate Intake
Your body converts carbohydrates into energy that will carry you through the long miles. However, as you probably already know, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Choose high-quality whole grain foods as your main source; avoid refined sugars, white bread, white rice, and carbs that are not truly “whole grain” (read labels carefully! Often “whole grain” is just enriched refined carbs). Some of our favorite high-quality carbs include brown rice, whole oats (not quick), whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, and grains such as quinoa.
Proteins: The Building Blocks of Your Muscles and Recovery
When you’re training, your protein intake is extremely important. Without good, wholesome protein, your muscles will not fully re-build. One thing to keep in mind with protein intake is that it’s not just how much protein you eat, it’s when you eat it. Right after a run, you’ll want to consume a serving of protein, with some high-quality carbs to help replenish your glycogen stores. One of our favorites? A recovery drink, such as the kind made by Fluid.
Just how much protein should you consume? For endurance athletes, the common recommendation is to take your weight and apply it to this formula: body weight / 2.2 = Y. Y x 1.8 = Z grams per day. So, for example, a 130 lb. person, needs 106 grams per day.
Good sources of protein include high-quality dairy, all-natural pastured meats, and nuts.
Don’t Avoid Fats
Fats get a bad reputation, unfortunately, but they’re vital for repairing and helping your body thrive. Stick with the good fats, such as those found in pure pastured butter, olive oil, nuts, and high-quality dairy.
And Don’t Forget Your Vitamins!
Vitamins contain the essential nutrients that help keep your system functioning fluidly and keep you healthy. The best source of vitamins comes from whole fruits and vegetables (go for lots of colorful ones), and from whole-grain, all-natural foods.
Right now, we’re in the summer season, so it may be easy to remember your water bottle on those long runs. However, remember that even in cooler temps, your body is still losing a lot of fluid through sweat, so it’s just as important to stay hydrated. Here’s a simple hydration guide to follow: .5 ounces x weight = water intake (so 65 oz per day for 130 lb. person). Increase your fluid intake as temperatures climb, and make sure you hydrate before, during, and after your runs.
To keep your electrolyte balance at the right levels (remember, you lose a lot of vital electrolytes through sweating), we recommend hydrating with an electrolyte drink such as Fluid, which is specifically balanced just for athletes with the right amount of water to electrolytes (and it tastes great!).
We can’t wait to see you at the start line of the 17th Annual City to the Sea Half-Marathon and 5k. We hope you enjoyed our nutrition and hydration tips.