Run Norwich 2017: What to eat and drink before the race? Nutritionist Andrea Langan shares her top tips
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
For your body to run like a well-oiled machine, it needs the proper fuel.
And with just days to go until this year's Run Norwich 10km race (on Sunday, August 6), its 6,000 competitors might be wondering about what food and drink will help them perform at their best.
Andrea Carroll Langan, 41, from Norwich, is a functional nutritionist specialising in optimising health and performance. She took part in the 2015 Run Norwich and has again entered for this year's race.
Here, she shares her tips on race nutrition:
Wow, we've come a long way...Those training schedules that once looked so challenging must be gearing you up to kick back and relax right about now! With mere days to go it'll pay to mix up well earned daydreaming time with some easy last minute nutrition prep.
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At this stage don't get swayed into changing your diet or hydration strategies. Keeping things simple and consistent will help you enjoy the action on the big day.
A key focus for race day should now be how best to optimise glycogen reserves (our muscles use glycogen for energy) and keep fuel levels topped up.
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A little forward planning is all that's needed, so rather than leave your last meals to chance here's a few tips on getting prepared.
The day before
Starting the race adequately hydrated is super important. Skip the weekend drinks, embrace your inner athlete and top up on water throughout the day. Try to reduce caffeinated drinks too. Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics so they increase water loss.
On Saturday evening eat a substantial meal but cut down slightly on the protein and fats (both of which are very filling) to allow enough room for the smart carbs (that release energy slowly). Familiar foods that are easy to digest are ideal.
Chicken, quinoa or rice and roast veg anyone? Sounds good to me!
Follow the same principals for your breakfast on the morning of the race. Everyone has different levels of comfort surrounding timings. As a general guideline, aim to have a breakfast two-to-four hours before the run.
Breakfast ideas include porridge with nut butter, low fat milk of choice and honey, muffins with low fat cottage cheese or a mixed bowl of seeds, fruit and low fat natural yoghurt. As always stick to ingredients you're used to and personalise any approach to what's worked in training.
If eating first thing is a challenge or you get pre-race/run jitters, a blended oat, fruit and natural yoghurt smoothie could be a worthy fuel choice.
An effective tweak like selecting low fibre tropical fruit such as mango, over raspberries, could make the smoothie even easier on your digestive system.
With a 9.30am start there's time for a small energy boosting snack if you're inclined to get hungry mid-morning.
It might be worth having a flapjack or granola bar handy in case you need a pick me up before 9am. Having half a banana with a little peanut butter on the walk down works well for me.
A 10K isn't your typical endurance race (yes, I know it can feel like it!) so avoid the temptation to suddenly opt for high sugar solutions that promise to fight fatigue. If you get timings wrong there's potential for blood sugar levels to dip just as you set off, or mid run.
At this distance, complex carbohydrates such as the oats suggested for breakfast really are your friends.
Having a large glass of water or herbal tea upon rising is a good start. Then keep momentum up and drink little and often until you hit the start zone. We're all different in terms of fluid requirements and as mentioned before the colour of your urine is a useful indicator of hydration – pale yellow is just perfect (think straw not apple juice!).
You can then top up with water along the route as and when needed.
Until Sunday, enjoy the build up and here's to having fun.
For more information, visit www.healthembrace.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Run Norwich starts at 9.30am on Sunday, August 6, starting from Gentleman's Walk. For rolling coverage of the event throughout the week and on the day, visit edp24.co.uk