As part of marathon week, today I will be writing about how I tackle the half marathon from a nutrition standpoint. I remember when I first started running, I was very confused about what to eat before and after a run. The night before my first 5k, I ate a huge salad and the morning of I had a big green smoothie. While healthy,this combination led to a very upset tummy before the race. That being said, some runners might find that the above mentioned foods are fine before a race. The key with race nutrition is to try everything out many, many times during training – especially before long runs. Through trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about what agrees with my stomach and what does not.
The day before the race
Before my half marathon, I ate lot throughout the whole day. I focused on carbs, and tried to avoid greasy foods. Breakfast was a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit. Lunch was hummus on rice cakes with cut up veggies. Dinner was a big bowl of gluten free pasta with tomato sauce and beans. Snacks were fruits such as apples and bananas, and some gluten free dairy free muffins. I was sure to drink a lot of water the day before. In fact, I drank lot of water the whole week before the race so that I was adequately hydrated.
Morning of the race
My breakfast on race day was Oh She Glow’s overnight oats. I ate this two hours before the start of the race, so that it had time to properly digest. I also drank 500mL of Vega Sport Electrolyte hydrator when I woke up, and tried to finish it one hour before the race. I was feeling a bit hungry before the start of the race and ate two medjool dates.
During the race
I carried a fuel belt with me during the race. In it were three 8oz bottles. Two of these bottles contained Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator and one contained water. I also carried with me two Vega Sport Gels.
My plan was to drink one bottle of the hydrator at 5k and one at 10k. My plan was to eat one gel at 8k and the other at 16k. I followed this plan, but found that I didn’t really want the second gel at 16k. I had about half of it and then threw the rest on the ground. I also had sips of water at each water station along the way.
I know that a lot of people don’t like to be weighed down by a fuel belt in a race. For me, it is comforting to know that I have my own electrolyte drinks and gels, and water, so that I can drink when I am thirsty and refuel with gel when I’m feeling like I need a boost of energy. Gatorade, which is provided at aid stations along the way – grosses me out. It is full of artificial coloring and flavors and sugar, and is not something I want to put in my body. I love the Vega Sport products – they were developed by a vegan triathlete, Brendan Brazier. They are plant based, all natural and made with whole foods. I find them very easy to digest. I’ve practiced with them all through my training and I know that my body reacts well to them.
After the race
After my first half marathon in the spring, I did not eat or drink adequately and ended up with a horrible headache for the rest of the day. I was determined not to let this happen again. I had a banana and apple right after I crossed the finish line. I had a Vega Smoothie Infusion (chocolate flavoured, yum!) during the car ride home. I sipped on water for the whole day. I also ate a lot of food, starting with a huge smoothie as soon as I got home. I managed to avoid the-post race headache and actually felt quite good for the remainder of the day.