Are you a serious runner and have a marathon coming up? Well if you do, or if you want to know the best foods to eat before a big race, search no more. Nutrition is extremely important when training for any athletic event, and a marathon is no exception. These long races require very specific foods at different times approaching the race to prepare your body for the big day.
Here are five meals that will help fuel your body, whether you’re looking to crush your previous personal best or to finish your first marathon ever.
Meal 1: Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
This meal is perfect for a few days before the race. As you’ll likely be running a bit less than you have been during training as the race approaches, it’s time to begin to eat more carbs. However a common misconception is that you should shovel pasta into your body before the race, but this can actually cause you to feel bloated and tired.
Getting protein from chicken and the low-glycemic carbs from sweet potatoes makes for a healthy and proper meal a few days before the big race.
Meal 2: Mexican-Style Chicken and Brown Rice Bowl
You’re two days out and it’s important to eat things you’re generally used to eating. The worst thing you could do is to try and introduce new foods to your body that may potentially throw your digestive system off.
A meal with chicken and brown rice will provide you some medium-glycemic carbs and protein needed to help you fill and fuel your body. Add some avocado on there and the healthy omega fats will top off your stomach to proper fullness and help your joints out for the long trek. And don’t forget to continue to drink water! Pre-hydration will be crucial in running a successful race.
Meal 3: Chicken with Quinoa and Veggies
It’s important to not stuff yourself the day before the race so that you are fully digested and won’t cramp up. So make this meal one that’s packed with healthy carbs, a little bit of protein, and veggies to keep it light but filling. Chicken with quinoa and veggies is a wise choice, as it’s got everything you need nutritionally, that also won’t be too hard on your stomach.
Meal 4: Toast with Light Spread of Jam
The night before the race, you’ll want to eat light foods that are easy to digest. Keep it simple to mainly breads and carbs. Waking up and running with foods that are more difficult to digest will tax your body as well as make you feel heavier and slower. Keep drinking water, too!
Meal 5: Race-Day Power Breakfast
It’s the morning of the race, and you may need a small meal before you’re off. A half of a banana and toast is exactly what your body needs to keep full and provide some quick energy for the race. Don’t chug tons of water at breakfast as it may cause you to cramp, but small sips of water is important. And hey, maybe even some sips of coffee in there as well.