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what to eat before and after a race

23rd April 2018 by Jess

Whether you’re a race newbie or a seasoned marathon runner, these tips from our nutritionist Jess will help you support the brilliant work you’re doing on the exercise-front.

jess fit

Whether you’ve signed up for a 5k, a half marathon or an obstacle course, taking a look at your overall approach to nutrition and rethinking the role that food plays in your fitness will really help both your enjoyment of exercising, as well as your performance, recovery and results.

Jess, graze nutritionist
pre race infographic
post race infographic

what to eat after a race

When you run, your body uses the glucose stores in your muscles, known as glycogen, to keep you going. This means that after your workout, your glycogen levels will be lower and your body will want to replenish its stores, as well as repair and regrow the proteins that make up your muscles.

Combine protein with carbohydrates post workout to make sure your body has the right raw materials coming in.

post-race nutrition can help you:

  • recover
  • rehydrate
  • refuel
  • build muscle
  • improve future performance

You want to be aiming for a balance of carbs (for glycogen replenishing) and protein (for muscle repair) post race, keeping the fats moderately low. Ideally, aim for a 3:1 carb to protein ratio.

A whole food meal would be ideal, so, for example, a baked sweet potato, a protein of your choice (e.g. tuna or eggs) with some salad and a few slices of avocado on the side.

carbohydrate-rich foods:
Potatoes (sweet or regular), rice (white, brown, wild, basmati), crackers, fruit or dried fruit, pasta, oats, quinoa

protein-rich foods:
Eggs, fish, meat, beans, spirulina, lentils, tofu

other example post-workout meals might look like this:

  • oatcake with tahini and honey
  • toast with hard-boiled eggs
  • banana protein shake
  • protein pancakes
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Find out more and sign up for Race for Life events at raceforlife.org

Jess food

By Jess, graze nutritionist.

Our nutritionist extraordinaire, Jess trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and is a registered practitioner with the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She's the creator of our health badges, to help you choose the snacks and boxes that are right for you. Check out everything from Jess on our blog, with recipes and tricks to help you keep making better choices, or go to her website at jessntom.com for even more.

view all posts by Jess

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