Eating the right (or wrong) foods in the lead up to a race can make the difference between sailing across the line like Ennis/Farah, or slogging across feeling like a shaky weakling. We spoke to Emma Barraclough, nutritionist at Sport In Science, to get the lowdown on smart tummy-filling before a 10k race.
Hi Emma. So, let’s say you’re running three or four times a week on an 8-week 10k training plan how will this affect your diet?
“The first priority is to ensure that you’re well fuelled for your training sessions. You may want to change some of your usual meal timings, depending on what time of the day you’re going to be training.
You may want to change some of your usual meal timings
“If you’re training in the mornings, you need to ask yourself how your breakfast fits in around that, and whether it’s providing what you need to fuel your run.
“If you’re training after work, a lot of times people will have their lunch then train in the evening, before their evening meal. That means that you’re starting your training session with quite a low blood-sugar level, which you want to avoid, so you might need to think about having a snack at 4pm to see you through.
“In terms of training for a 10k, you’re unlikely to ever be doing much more than an hour’s running, so you don’t really need to worry about nutrition too much, other than to make sure your blood-sugar level doesn’t drop too low.”
Is there an ideal time for eating before a run?
“If it’s a large meal you probably want about two hours. If you’re getting out there in the morning you can get away with a light, small breakfast – such as fruit and yoghurt – about an hour before your run.
You can get away with a light, small breakfast about an hour before a run
“Some people like to do some of their training ‘fasted’ [i.e. with little or no food in their stomach] but you don’t want to do that much more than a couple of times a week, and certainly not for sessions any longer than an hour, as it can be quite stressful on your immune system.”Om nom nom
Is there an equation that sets out your water intake when running?
You can get caught out during spring and autumn when you’ve got too many layers on
“Hydration is a tricky one, as we all sweat at different rates, and even within your own personal sweat-rate, the amount you sweat during summer will be quite different to during winter, and you can sometimes get caught out during spring and autumn when you’ve got too many layers on and it’s not as cold as you thought it’d be.
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