While running a marathon, your body will quickly deplete its stores of glycogen if they haven’t been properly filled beforehand. Glycogen is the body’s main source of energy, and is stored in the muscles and liver until needed. Eating healthy carbohydrates are the best way to build up a storage of glycogen in the body. Studies show that eating foods rich in carbohydrates 12 to 18 hours before a marathon can increase endurance and improve strength. Snack on these runner-recommended foods to improve your performance during your next marathon.
Ideally, food the night before your race should consist of 60 percent carbohydrates and 40 percent protein. Protein will help your muscles to rebuild after you run. Pasta with a simple meat sauce is a great choice as it is high in carbohydrates with approximately 36 grams per one cup serving.
Bread, as a side to healthy grilled protein or in its own in a sandwich, is a rich source of carbohydrates with approximately 16 grams per slice. Look for a variety that is high quality and uses natural ingredients from places like Klosterman Baking Company. Many experts recommend cutting back on fiber before a race to reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal problems while running. Stick with a white bread since it is lower in fiber.
Rice is a great option before a race because it pairs well with many proteins. Try white rice, which has a lower fiber content than brown or wild varieties, under a vegetable and protein stir-fry for a well-balanced meal. With 44 grams of carbohydrates per cup, rice is a good choice that isn’t too heavy.
A large Russet potato has 57 grams of carbohydrates per serving while a sweet potato has 26 grams. Potatoes can be served as a side to a lean meat and vegetables or baked on their own and topped with cheese.
Fruit is a great snack to have that pairs well with protein, is convenient, and doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. Try apple slices with peanut butter, berries with cottage cheese, or a banana with a slice of cheese for a light, balanced meal.
Though it may be tempting, make sure not to overdo your meal the night before your marathon. Doing so can cause gastrointestinal problems that can cause issues while running. A healthy well-balanced meal that is rich in carbohydrates will help you to feel great and stay strong during your race.