Pre-Run Nutrition Preparations
Nutrition with Becca Blumberg – Pre-Run Nutrition Preparations
What you eat before your long run can play a big factor in determining whether you have a great day of training or end up trudging through a death march. This is why having Pre-Run Nutrition Preparations is a must! Feeling good during your long run will help you enjoy the training process and get the most out of your workouts. Just as importantly, it will boost your confidence on race day.
The goals of the pre-workout meal are to top off your gas tank (glycogen stores) and to properly hydrate your body before heading out. To do this, you should generally focus on carbs. Protein, fat, and fiber will slow your digestion and can lead to GI distress if you eat them too close to your run.
So what you should you do? Check out some of my pre-run preparations my runner clients do to ensure they have the best race they can!
Pre-Run Nutrition Preparations – Rehearsal
This is all about practicing your nutrition on your long run. Treat each long run as a rehearsal for race day. If you don’t yet have a set pre-run breakfast, try out different options until you find something that leaves you feeling energized and sits well in your stomach. One thing you need to consider is that there’s often a longer pause between eating and running on race day than in training. You may want to account for this in your planning. For example, I eat my typical pre-run breakfast and then have a small snack that I can carry with me to the start.
About 2-4 hours before your run (if possible) you can have a meal with carbs, 10-15 grams of protein, and some fiber. Avoid anything high in fat. Some good examples are a PB&J toast, a potato with some non-fat Greek yogurt, a sweet potato with peanut butter, or oatmeal with fruit and nuts. Try and drink 20 ounces of water along with this. If you’re like me, you don’t want to wake up that early before an already early race or long run. That’s OKAY. Just remember to focus more on carbs at dinner the night before and hydrate before going to bed.
About a half-hour or an hour before your long run, try for a snack of 30-60 grams of carbs. A piece of fruit, a Larabar or similar, pretzels, cereal, pancakes, or potatoes all work well. Have another 10-16 ounces of fluid. This can include caffeine if you wish. If you are an after-work runner, you may want to consider doing this before shorter runs as well, as there’s likely a long time between your lunch and evening run.
Pre-Run Nutrition Preparations – A great recipe for pre-run of the marathon!
Good nutritional meals are so important when it comes to pre-run goodness. Check out my recipe for Tofu Scramble!
This recipe is chock full of veggies, and for a good reason! They provide fiber to fill you up and keep your gut and heart healthy. Your body will also appreciate all the vitamins and minerals they carry. I always recommend getting your minerals and vitamins from food first and foremost because that way, they’re more absorbable. You also get a whole range of benefits and enjoyment from eating real whole food.
In particular, bell peppers and tomatoes contain vitamin C while spinach provides a lot of iron. Vitamin C is important in supporting your immunity. It also helps the absorption of iron from plants. Iron is important for runners because it is a critical part of heme, a part of hemoglobin and myoglobin. These proteins carry oxygen in the blood and store a small amount in the muscle. Believe it or not, we crush our red blood cells with each step we take when we run. This increases iron requirements for all athletes—and those of us who menstruate have an even higher need for extra iron.
Tofu has sort of a bad reputation. I personally used to hate the idea of tofu and everything it stood for. But then I tried a few things with it and started to realize its potential. Tofu is pretty bland and it doesn’t have much in the way of texture, and this is something you can use to your advantage.
By changing what we add to the scramble, we can give it a variety of tastes. This recipe is more of a Mediterranean feel. Swap out the ingredients and you can easily get a southwest
Feel. Tofu is used here because it allows this to be prepped ahead of time. Eggs do not reheat well at all. Tofu on the other hand can be warmed in the microwave without turning into rubber.
The vegetables in this recipe are really just suggestions. Try adding anything, or if there is something you don’t like, go ahead and remove it! Some possible additions would be olives or Capers.
1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 teaspoons oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons Za’atar seasoning
4 oz. Reduced fat feta, crumbled
4 whole-wheat pita, toasted and cut in half
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Press tofu.
- While tofu is being pressed, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add tomatoes and Za’atar. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are cooking, add tofu, garlic powder, and turmeric into a bowl. Using your hands, crumble the tofu and mix the seasoning evenly throughout.
- After tomatoes have been cooking for 5 minutes, add spinach and stir. Cook until wilted, about 1 minute.
- Add crumbled tofu to the pan and stir. Heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Add feta to the mixture and stir. Heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Open pocket in pita half and fill with mixture. Serve and enjoy!
About Becca Blumberg
Becca (she/her) is a registered dietitian-nutritionist (RDN) based in Fort Collins, CO. She has a Masters in Human Nutrition from Colorado State University and completed a dietetic internship in the Northern Colorado area focused on wellness & lifestyle medicine and is a certified intuitive eating counselor. She’s also a personal trainer and RRCA Level 1 Running Coach. She’s passionate about helping people achieve their endurance goals and seeing the ripple effect that this can create for them.
If you have any questions, are looking for general advice, or just want a nutritionist to have your back, check Becca out at https://www.facebook.com/Ripple.Nutrition or rippleenutrition.wixsite.com/ripplenutrition or reach out to her @ripple.nutrition on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.