When it comes to running your first ever marathon, it is important to get fueled right. Eating too close to your run is a common beginner mistake and will keep you feeling nauseous when you are putting in the yards. Running on an empty stomach isn’t ideal either, as it means that your body doesn’t have enough gas in the tank. Here are a few ways you can avoid cramping, bloating and therefore be able to give your first race your best shot.
Keep yourself on top of the game by making a habit to sip water throughout the days before the race. Avoid gulping down liquids right before the start as this could leave you feeling sick and will have you running to hit the bathroom instead.
Say No To Carb Overloading
Carb loading is often practiced by athletes and distance runners who are looking at a 90 minute or longer race. A 5K will get over way before that . So, increasing your carbohydrate intake just before a race will only result in tons of unutilized calories, which could end up making you feel like you have heavy legs.
If your race is in the morning then you need to consume a meal one to two hours before the race. Your meal should comprise of 200-300 calories made up of unprocessed carbohydrates and should be low in fiber and fat as these take a long time to digest. Aim for less than 10 grams of fiber per serving (or less if you have a sensitive stomach); limit fat to five to 10 grams. Avoid any surprises on the race day by experimenting with foods during your training period.
Drink Enough Fluids
Accompany your pre-race meal with plenty of fluids. Your fluid intake should comprise of your regular tea, coffee or sports drinks. According to Runner’s World you need to drink 17 to 20 ounces of fluids two to three hours before the race, another seven to ten ounces 20 minutes before the race begins.
Satiate Your Pre-race Hunger
If you feel hungry before a race then it’s completely alright to have a small snack of 150-250 calories that can quieten your hunger pangs without filling you up. Foods like bananas, energy chews, cracker biscuits provide a quick snack and are easy to digest. Choose one that is high in carbohydrates and has less than 10 grams of protein and fat. Be sure to wash it down with seven to 10 ounces of water or sports drink.
Make Time for a Pit Stop
Hitting the bathroom before a race is important so that you don’t feel rushed to relieve yourself during the run. Arrive at the race at least an hour prior so that you have enough time to plan a trip to the restroom.
Sticking to whatever has worked for you during your regular training runs. The food should give you enough energy to keep on going without giving you an upset stomach. Don’t experiment when you are barely a few days from your major run. Stick to what has worked for you in the past – this includes diet, apparel, shoes and hydration techniques. Your diet should be simple and nutrient rich – but avoid including food that you have never consumed before. This could upset your body’s disposition.
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