Being careful about nutrition is a key to good performance for an endurance athlete, and especially for maintaining appropriate health. That’s why a plan that allows us to conveniently structure our eating and hydration before, during and after the race is very important.
EATING DURING THE PREPARATION PHASE
- 40% of the nutrients consumed should be carbohydrates: pasta, rice, vegetables, fruit, legumes or pseudocereals like quinoa.
- 30% should be proteins coming from fish, white meat, eggs or dairy products (in accordance with tolerances).
- 30% should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that we can find in olive oil, avocado, dry fruits, raw seeds and some fish such as salmon.
HYDRATION DURING THE PREPARATION PHASE
An athlete should drink a minimum of 3 liters of water per day on non-training days. During training sessions, it is ideal to take sips of water every 15 or 30 minutes. The total amount of liquid to drink can be easily calculated by measuring the difference in body weight before and after activity.
Isotonic drinks with mineral salts and electrolytes will help us to maintain effective levels of hydration and body balance.
EATING BEFORE THE RACE
In the days leading up to the race, it’s important to keep in mind several aspects that can make a difference.
- Increase the intake of easy-to-digest carbohydrates.
- Reduce the consumption of fiber. Especially the day before the competition.
- Avoid really fatty foods, and excessively cooked or seasoned foods.
- Avoid really hot or really cold plates.
- We are trying to match the composition, preparation, consistency and schedule of our foods to those of competition day.
EATING AND HYDRATION DURING THE RACE
There are certain rules that we should never break in order to insure optimal performance during a marathon:
- It’s very important to maintain our normal eating and hydration habits. Introducing new habits during the race can cause the body to react inappropriately to certain foods it is not used to.
- Eat about 3 hours before the race.
- Hydrate yourself properly up to 60 minutes before the race with isotonic beverages or even drinks with salts.
- Avoid eating solid foods during the race, such as bars. It is better to consume jelly-like or liquid items we have previously eaten.
EATING AFTER THE RACE
The physical aches and body imbalances will continue in the days following the competition, which is why we should never forget about the recovery period. Here are some tips for you to recover your optimal physical condition as soon as possible:
The day is coming. Make every detail count, and download the training plan here for the twelfth week of preparation. Enjoy the last steps toward a challenge you will never forget.