If you’ve been training hard in the lead up to the City 2 Surf, it’s time to stop and think about nutrition. What you eat in the lead up to race day will have a large impact on your performance on the day.
Good nutrition can help you boost your stamina (i.e. run faster for longer), improve your concentration, improve recovery and help you get the best results! To help you over the finish line, check out our top nutrition tips before you pound the pavement.
Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. We know you’ve heard it all before – but being hydrated is so important. What you mightn’t have heard is that drinking enough water in the lead up to the big day is just as important as on race day. At least 2L of water every day the week before should do the trick.
If you need a little help drinking more water, try flavouring your water with citrus or berries or carry a water bottle with you throughout the day.
Carb loading is a strategy often utilized by elite athletes to maximise carbohydrate stores in the muscle prior to endurance competition. Because the body only has a limited supply of carbohydrates in the muscles and liver, and our muscles rely on carbohydrates for energy, our muscles stores need to be topped up 24-36 hours before the race.
The science says that carb loading has no benefit to performance in events under 90 minutes (and can actually be damaging). So sorry to bust your bubble but unfortunately there’s no need to carb load for C2S – just stick to your usual healthy diet instead.
Rather than loading up unnecessarily, we recommend paying more attention to the quality of carbohydrates you are taking in. From Thursday, make sure you are slightly increasing your complex carbohydrate intake (wholegrain breads and cereals, pasta, rice, sweet potato, legumes and quinoa). As always, remember to keep meals balanced with veggies and a lean source of protein.
The day before:
Make sure each meal contains a source of carbohydrates. For example you might have muesli for breakfast, a sandwich or quinoa salad for lunch and a serve of pasta or rice for dinner.
Note: it is not about going over the top with the carbohydrates, it’s all about topping up your stored carbohydrate stores to prep you for the race.
We advise limiting your intake of high fatty and spicy foods. When you run, your digestion slows down (so blood can be distributed to your muscles), and fatty and spicy foods can cause stomach upsets.
Drink plenty of water!!!
The morning of:
To support yourself during the event, a nutrient-rich breakfast is essential. However, this is NOT the time to have a massive breakfast, or experiment with foods you haven’t had before. Eat something tried and tested that you know won’t upset your stomach.
If you’re not usually an early morning runner, you’re lucky that the start gun doesn’t fire until 7.55am (if you’re not a serious contender, you’ll be heading off even later). The good news is this gives you time to fuel up with a healthy breakfast (aim to eat 2-3 hours before the race o your body has time to digest your breakfast and get the nutrients and energy from the food).
Go for a carbohydrate rich option that’s low in fat and fibre (yep, no smashed avo pre-workout!).
Our go to is 1-2 slices of toast with honey and a banana or oats with a banana and honey.
Hydrate well before the race too.
After the race… hooray!
A long race means your muscle’s energy stores will be worn-out, so aim to refuel and rehydrate right away. For about 90 minutes after the race your body is primed and ready to repair itself and replenish the fuel it lost. Again, it’s important to opt for quality carbs and a good source of protein to help repair those sore and tired muscles. There’s no need to steer clear of smashed avo in your celebratory meal, either (yay)!
Regardless, we’re sure you weren’t searching for an excuse to head off for brunch in beautiful Bondi (did someone say double breakfast?!). Add a couple of poached eggs and choose a wholemeal bread and you’ll be as good as gold. Stick to plain water too – as sports drinks are generally packed with unnecessary sugars.
If you’re looking for individual advice to support your training routine, get in touch with us to book in for a private dietitian consultation. Click here.