My fueling before a long run (12+ miles) or a race – usually a half marathon – is a bit different than what most runners may use but through trial and error I have discovered this is what works for me.
Fueling for an early morning race (usually 8 a.m.) means a hearty dinner usually by 5 p.m. and then a fuel-packed breakfast consumed 3 hours before the start of a race. This let’s everything – hopefully – be digested and out of my stomach by the time the start gun goes off. Eating this way I have never been constipated before a race or had a bathroom emergency during a race. I feel energized and strong.
What’s so different?
No pasta. Traditional carbohydrate-loading with a big pasta meal the night before a race did two things to me: tempted me to overeat and made my legs feel sluggish the next day.
I tried eating a hearty fish meal the night before and found my energy levels to be much better. I think it’s the healthy serving of protein that makes a difference. Also, my supper is loaded with iron, which is important for runners.
Here’s my typical pre-race dinner:
- 6-8 oz. of wild caught salmon or steelhead trout. Cook in a glass dish on light coating of olive oil. Place a pat of butter on top, drizzle with lemon and coat with dill. Cook at 400 until fish flakes.
- About a cup of asparagus or kale. Asparagus is roasted with mushrooms and olive oil while fish cooks. Kale is boiled in salt water, drained well and dressed with a fresh mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- A half cup of winter squash or summer squash, depending on what is in season.
- A half cup of mashed potatoes, with 2 percent milk and just a little butter for taste.
- No alcohol to drink. I opt for pomegranate juice diluted in mineral water.
- For dessert, I’ll have a peach or something easy to digest.
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Written by Rob Haneisen.