How to eat for your 30km race

runtrail

We’re pretty excited here at Whistler Half Marathon to be offering a 30km distance to the schedule of events. A distance we feel pushes the boundaries just that bit more than a half, but not quite the full. Enough to dip your running toes into a distance a little further than the usual 21.1km and try it on for size.

With that said, it can be a little tough to determine how to fuel for that extra 9km when you’re out there for at least another 30-60 minutes plus. We put together this handy guide to help give you some inspiration on what to eat and when to ensure you feel pretty decent once you cross that finish line.

Generally speaking, carbs are usually the best go-to source of fuel for exercise. They fuel our tissues and cells and it’s not only easily digestible but also the energy source our body taps into first and foremost when we’re running. However when it comes to longer distance and endurance activities, some studies are coming out to show that using fat as a fuel source works more in our favour. I’d be inclined to say a combination of both carbs and fat will serve you the best for 30km, however your training is the best place to test what works the most for you (never try anything new on race day).

Your lunch the day before will be your most important meal, as it gives you over 12 hours for your body to digest and place glycogen into your tissues so you can pull from it later. Your meal the night before your race should be similar to your lunch, but smaller so that you’re not still having to digest it the next morning.

Great lunch options include:

  • Brown rice & chicken (or turkey) with green leafy veggies with almond satay sauce
  • Tempeh & veggie stir fry with half an avocado
  • Leafy green salad with hemp seeds, avocado and apple cider vinegar dressing (include chicken or tempeh for added protein)

Your breakfast the next morning should also include a small amount of fat, enough to keep you satiated but not make you feel like you’re sluggish. More carbs are great at this point as this is what you’ll tap into first as you run.

Great breakfast options include:

  • Sourdough or whole wheat toast with coconut oil and almond butter
  • Avocado toast
  • Overnight oats with nut milk, topped with shredded coconut and diced apples
  • Green smoothie with avocado (if you can’t stomach a bigger breakfast)
  • Fruit first, then half an hour later some toast with chia jam or nut butter

Now during your race, you’ll need to refuel part way through. Some people can’t stomach anything when they run and I don’t like to disrupt that too much so if that’s you, stay with it! But for others, they need the fuel part way through or every 45 minutes to an hour to avoid bonking.

I love the use of easily digestible carbs such as gels (Vega or make your own) or a few dates for a shot of natural sugar to bump your energy up. If you don’t like gels, add them to your water to thin them out and sip during your run. I advise keeping fuelling during your race simple since you are running, you aren’t going to be able to digest optimally so we don’t want to overload the system.

Post-race is the next super important time to eat! This is where we can aid our recovery or delay it. You’ll want to refuel with carbs and protein at a 4:1 ratio so that you can restore the energy lost during the race. Smoothies with protein supplements are great! Just enough to take the edge off after a race (we get it, you’re starving!) so that you can ensure the next proper meal you take in is packed with nutrients to help you recover faster. Think: big leafy green salad with protein or chicken and salad wrap or even sushi! It can be so easy to want to go for the burger and fries (and you have earned it) but your body needs nutrient-density after a race, so save the celebratory burger for the evening.

We hope this little guide helps you to consider your meals and the best options to help you get from the start line to the finish line feeling great! Let us know if you have any great meal options that you love and feel that it really helps you!

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About morganadunn

An Aussie transplant circa 2006, Morgan fell in love with long distance running after playing competitive soccer and hasn't looked back. When she's not running, she's working with client's as a holistic nutritionist to help them feel their best so that they can enjoy their active life.
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