Monday, April 29, 2013

What should you eat before a long run?

A common question runners ask is: What can I eat before I race? The reality is that there is no perfect answer that suits everyone. It depends on what your body is used to and how your body reacts to and processes food. However, there are some guidelines that will keep you from running into any problems during your race.

  •  Eat only foods that your body is familiar with. If you have been eating a banana and milk before your races or training runs, do not switch to fried kway teow. Anything that your body is not used to can cause problems.
  •  The majority of your food intake before the race should comprise complex carbohydrates (see low GI-see list). 65 to 75 percent carbohydrates is a good target to aim for. You want your blood glucose levels to stay up during the race. If you eat mostly simple sugars such as candy or sweets, your blood glucose levels will spike and then drop rapidly, leaving you with low glucose levelsat the start of the race. So avoid foods that are too sweet.
  • Avoid high protein meals. Protein takes longer to digest and may remain in your stomach longer. This can cause cramping or other GI related problems during the race.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat. Fatty foods also remain in your stomach longer and can cause problems during the race. 
The 15 foods all athletes need for good health and top performance:

Almonds: Eat 24 almonds per serving, 3-5 servings per week. 
Canned Black Beans: Half tin gives you more than half the fiber you need per day. 
Chicken: One breast provides half your daily protein needs. 
Dark Chocolate: Eat 30g serving a few times per week. 
Eggs: Most runners can safely eat up to 15 eggs per week. 
Frozen Mixed Berries: Runners need at least 2 cups of fruit every day. Easy to store, easy to use in smoothie. 
Frozen Vegetables: Buy a colorful mix to get an array of antioxidants. Easy to store and easy to use in stir-fries. 
Low-Fat Yogurt: Runners need 3 cups of dairy each day. Be mindful of the sugar content, read the labels. 
Mixed Salad Greens: A variety of greens provide the most nutrients. Super fast lunch or diner – but be careful with the dressing. 
Oranges: Just 1 orange a day will fulfill your vitamin C needs. A freshly-squeezed one is better than anything bottled. 
Salmon: 2-3 servings per week provide healthy fats and high-quality protein. 
Sweet Potatoes: This carbohydrate provides the bonus of more than 250 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A. Perfect for the race. 
Whole-Grain Bread: Look for the words “100 percent whole grain” and not “enriched”! 
Whole-Grain Pasta: Eat at least 3 servings of whole grains per day.

This article was adapted from:


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