What Should You Eat When Preparing for a 5 km or 10 km Race
For a growing number of Quebecers, summer is synonymous with jogging. As interest for running increases with every passing year, 5 km and 10 km races are multiplying. If you signed up for one of these events, you are probably training accordingly. But did you give any thought to your nutrition before D-Day?
A few days before the competition
Did you know it is possible to increase energy reserves in your muscles through nutrition? As a matter of fact, here’s some advice that should be religiously followed in the week preceding your challenge:
- Make sure to eat balanced meals and snacks with a good quantity of carbs. Aim for a minimum of 60 g or carbs per meal, and 30 g per snack.
- Take a nutritious snack after each workout-no exceptions!
- Feed your muscles, don’t deprive them! Don’t limit your calorie intake to lose weight.
The morning of the competition
The hours preceding the competition are of the utmost importance. Here are a few things to plan for:
- Eat a complete meal 3 to 4 hours prior to the event. Your body will have enough time to digest the meal, and your energy won’t be used to digest what’s in your gut during the race.
- After that meal, eat carbs every hour until the beginning of the race, ideally liquid or pureed (juice, gels, energy drinks, compotes, etc.).
- Drink a minimum of 500 ml of liquid before the beginning of the race.
- Eat a moderate amount of proteins, because they are harder to digest than carbs.
- Avoid very fatty or sweet foods, such as dessert, fried foods, and sauces.
- Avoid foods rich in fibre (legumes, whole grains, etc.), spicy foods, or gas-producing foods (cabbage, onion, broccoli, etc.) according to your own tolerance.
- Avoid dehydrating beverages, such as coffee, tea, or alcohol.
In conclusion, here’s some super-important advice to consider when taking part in a sports competition: always test your nutrition and hydration plan the day before the event to avoid nasty surprises!
By Vanessa Martin, nutritionist
Ledoux, Marielle et al. 2009. Nutrition, sport et performance. 2nd Ed. Les Éditions Vélo Québec, 93 p.