April 23 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.
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.
Your pre and post-workout nutrition will be different depending on your goal (ie. fat loss, stamina, muscle building, maintenance or general health) and on the type, intensity and duration of your race. A slow-paced 5k walk wouldn’t be best pre-fuelled with carbs and protein for example.
Ahead of a race you ideally want to eat something that’s easy to digest and will give you lasting energy to fuel you to the end so you don’t feel totally wiped out afterwards.
If you’ve eaten a more substantial meal about an hour or so before, it might be that you don’t need anything in addition to that meal (unless muscle building is your goal or you’re running a full marathon).
Carbohydrates and a bit of protein are best before a workout. Keep the fat to a minimum as this takes longer to digest. Any of the following would be great examples:
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.
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.
Potatoes (sweet or regular), rice (white, brown, wild, basmati), crackers, fruit or dried fruit, pasta, oats, quinoa
Eggs, fish, meat, beans, spirulina, lentils, tofu
other example post-workout meals might look like this:
In all my years as a nutritionist, one of the main pieces of advice I give people from my own experience is to set up a snacking routine. It can really help you keep consistent with healthy eating if you're prepared with healthy and satiating snacks for when those hunger pangs strike.
Jess, graze nutritionist
Kick start your training with our handmade oat squares. Made with rustic rolled oats and flavored with natural ingredients like vanilla and superfood cacao, they're the tastiest way to get more protein when you're on the run.
Just pop one in your bag and you're good to go!
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