Harder workouts or long runs are the types of runs that you'll want to fuel for. These are the runs that are most important in developing your strength, stamina and speed for races, so you want to make sure you're well fueled so you can get the best training effect out of the workout. This is the best time to practice race-day nutrition. Knowing what works well for your body nutritionally during these hard training runs will give you great insight into what you should be eating on race day.
When fueling for morning workouts, a general rule of thumb is to eat about 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight up to one hour before. For a 150-pound runner, that would equate to 75 grams of carbohydrate and about 300 calories. This could be accomplished easily by consuming one whole grain English muffin, 1 to 2 tablespoons of jam and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice. The combinations of food are endless and should be based on your personal preferences and what agrees with your stomach during exercise.
Use nutrition labels to help you determine how many grams of carbohydrates are in a serving of that food. And choose foods that are high in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, and low in fats. Fats and proteins delay gastric emptying, so you may have trouble with indigestion if you exercise too soon after eating meals heavy in these macronutrients.
Race-day nutrition doesn't differ that much from training nutrition. If you practice good nutrition during training and spend some time experimenting to see which foods work well for you, it should be something you don't even have to think about on race day. How much to eat and when to eat will be dictated by your race.
In general, the longer the race the larger your meal should be and the more time you should give it to digest. For shorter races, choose quicker, digestible carbohydrates like toast and jam or a low-fiber cereal. For longer races, choose slower, digestible carbohydrates like yogurt, apples, bananas or oatmeal. Just be cautious of consuming too much fiber and make sure you find out how your body reacts first.
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