5 food solutions to prepare your body for a big race

Prepare Your Body For A Big Race

Fuel your running performance with these expert tips

If you’re gearing up for a big race like the City2Surf or New York City Marathon, what you eat in the lead up to, and just before, your event is crucial. You’re going to want to eat the right foods to fuel your body for a good performance and feel your best while you’re running. Moodi Dennaoui, personal trainer and expert for Body Science, shares seven of his best food tips to get the most out of your run.

1

Be careful with your diet

You may want to change up your meal plan just before your big race day, but Dennaoui advises against this way of thinking. “Change your diet at least a week before your race so your body has a chance to get used to it and so you can test whether it works for you. The last thing you want is an upset stomach come race day!” This also applies to adding supplements to your diet.

2

Eat well

It goes without saying that you should eat healthy in the lead up your race day, but you should also take into consideration a diet that that includes a range of different foods. “You need to have all of your macros covered, including carbs, fats and proteins, but also don’t forget about your micro nutrients,” says Dennaoui. “These are the green leafy and bright coloured vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruit, especially berries that are rich in colour, are great for antioxidants, too.”

Sweet potato is a great source of vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, iron, as well as trace minerals of manganese and copper, which may have an impact on performance as they are crucial for healthy muscle function.
Moodi Dennaoui
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Personal trainer

3

Remember to eat

As for on the day of your big race? It’s even more important to eat well. “Make sure you eat something the morning of the race so that you don’t crash and burn,” says Dennaoui. “Think of something that is easy to digest such as half a banana, a piece of toast with some peanut butter or a low carb protein bar.”  

4

Be careful with carb loading

Carb loading receives a lot of hype, but is it worth it? “Carb loading is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to endurance events,” explains Dennaoui, “I suggest slowly increasing your carb intake the week prior by adding extra brown rice, quinoa or wholemeal bread to your diet if you want the extra energy.”

5

Ditch the sugar

Forget about loading up on lollies or cordial for an energy burst before going for your run. “An electrolyte supplement is one thing, but beware of having highly sugary drinks on race day or in the lead up to race day, especially if this is something that you wouldn’t usually consume,” warns Dennaoui. “You may have a temporary high from them, but ultimately refined sugar usually leads to a big crash. If you need some sugar to refuel, consider coconut water.”

Looking for some more exercise inspiration? Discover Sally Fitzgibbons’ fitness routine.

Do you have any advice when it comes to preparing for a big race? Share with us in the comments below.

Main image credit: Getty