Time to Fuel Your Body
by Matt Thompson | May 16, 2016
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You’ve put in all the miles. Your goals have been written and visible for months. You may have even done some speed work. Or maybe you haven’t done any of these things and you still understand the importance of fueling your body for the BolderBOULDER 10k. Whatever the case, here are a few things to consider.
Most runners have heard that it’s a good idea to “carbo load” the night before a race. Not necessarily. Remember the old saying, “too much of anything, even a good thing, is a bad thing.” If your body isn’t used to taking in a lot of carbs, and you suddenly load it up the night before the race, chances are you’ll be feeling the effects of your body trying to determine what to do with all of those carbs. Keep it in moderation. A nice simple pasta dinner is a great idea the night before the race. You want to avoid anything real fatty or anything with high protein, as your body is going to take longer to digest those foods.
The BolderBOULDER has a few unique elements that can make the pre-race meal a bit more complicated. First, it’s on a Monday, and many of us tend to eat differently on Sunday than we normally would. Remember, you’ll get to enjoy the post race BBQ’s so focus on a normal eating routine on Sunday.
Secondly, for many runners the BolderBOULDER starts early, really early. Ideally, most experts say to begin your pre-race meal about four hours before the race. Since the BolderBOULDER 10k is run in waves (which make the race so much more enjoyable and less chaotic), that would mean some of us would need to start breakfast around 3AM. At the very minimum, a small carb breakfast should be consumed about 2 hours before start time, so I’ll be having my peanut butter on toast around 5am. If your wave begins later in the day, you can afford to eat a bit larger breakfast a little later in the morning.
If you’re like me, race morning brings with it a whole set of stomach issues regardless of what you eat or don’t eat. Somehow I manage to get myself nervous enough on race day to have my stomach turning somersaults all on its own. I’ve found that energy bars, smoothies, and gels work great to get in a balanced bit of nutrition without upsetting my stomach even more. Clif Bloks are great for right before you run, and a Clif Bar about 2 hours before you race may just hit the spot.
Bottom line is stay consistent and don’t try to get too creative. Your body is used to digesting what you’ve been feeding it, and trying to change that drastically the night before the big race is going to cause more harm than good. Remember that carbs are the fuel that your body likes to burn, so a nice bagel or toast, or a banana and yogurt will do the trick on race day morning, while a solid pasta dinner the night before will hit the spot. Just don’t over do it!