I posted two weeks ago about my post-run recovery drinks because this training cycle I am really focused on recovering right. However, before you can run right and therefore recover smartly, you need to fuel well the day before a long run or race. This week I am going to jump back and talk about what to eat the night before a race or long run.
Lots of runners experience a ton of anxiety leading up the the race and start to question everything they know about running. I’ll take one question off your mind. “What should I eat the night before a race?” the answer is simple.
Your pre-race meal = your pre-long run meal.
During marathon training, it is important to practice your “race-eve” nutrition, especially before your longer runs of the cycle. Treat your long runs like rehearsal runs for the race and test out different lunches and dinners the day before to find what works for you. That way, you can find what balance of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat sit well with your stomach.
So if you’ve been training by eating pizza the night before long runs, and your runs go well, then eat pizza the night before your race. If you’ve been eating pasta and some vegetables the night before your long runs, then eat pasta and vegetables the night before your race.
Seriously, what you should eat the night before a race is something that your body is used to- ideally the same thing that you’ve been practicing with the night before your long run. Don’t try out any new foods before a race because you won’t know if it will sit well with you. There’s nothing worse than having a bathroom emergency during a run. TRUST ME.
Over the years, I have learned that the night before a long run or race, I need to eat a combination of:
As a vegan, my diet is pretty high in fiber, beans, and whole foods, so I can handle a good amount of roughage; however, I do go easy on the plants the day before the race. This is what I ate before my 20 miler this week.
Sometimes, I’ll also make it into a Buddha Bowl and pile everything together:
I must stress: This is what works for me. It might not work for you.
Basically, the rule of thumb is to practice your race-eve nutrition as much as you can during your training cycle. One size does not fit all for nutrition. You need to practice what will work for your body. Practice to find your body’s ideal quantity of food to eat (too much and you will be uncomfortable, too little you will not have enough energy). Practice to find your body’s ideal ratio of carbs, protein, fat, and fiber to find out what your body can handle for optimum performance. Just remember, your pre-race meal should be the same as your pre-long run meals during training.
Week 9 Boston Marathon Training
Planned mileage: 61.0. Actual mileage= 63.1 I did a bit of flipping around of the schedule to accommodate my work schedule. The initial plan had me running Monday-Saturday with Sunday as my rest day, but I was presenting at a conference all day on Thursday so I made that my rest day and ran on Sunday (that’s my normal schedule anyway). Monday was supposed to be 9, Tuesday 7 and Thursday 10, all easy miles. Instead I flopped 10 to Monday, 9 to Tuesday and 7 to Sunday.
Monday EZ 10. Day’s total: 11.02, 8:02 pace
- Hit the path by 5:15am and ran North for a few miles instead of my typical southern route. I’m so happy I did because I ran into an old running partner and got a chance to catch up for a few miles (and potentially commit to running a marathon with him in May). I was too busy chatting to realize that I went farther than I should have!
Tuesday: EZ 9. Day’s total: 8.25, 7:19 pace.
- AM: Woke up to sleety rain so I hit the treadmill instead of meeting up with Clocktower and chancing slipping on the path. Decided to do a bit of a tempo portion after a mile warmup: 7:39, 7:18, 7:17, 7:04, 7:02, 6:57, and then a mile and a quarter cool down. Since I ran long yesterday, I did 8 today so my total mileage for the week was still where it was supposed to be.
- PM: Barre class
Wednesday: Speed (8×800). Total mileage: 7.85 mi
- AM: More gross weather kept me from going to NP so I went to a tabata class instead at Power Sculpt Fitness. Lots of arms and football runs on the Bosu.
- PM: 8×800 in the zoo lot. Kinda all over the place for pacing: 3:19, 10, 17, 13, 17, 9, 16, 12. Didn’t feel like it was the best workout; it was one of those workouts that helped me develop mental strength and not necessarily physical speed.
Thursday: (Supposed to be 10 EZ). Rest/XT. Day’s total 0mi
- AM: Back to Buddha Burn and feeling good… then spent the rest of the day at the National Bilingual conference as a presenter!
Friday: EZ 7 + November Project. Day’s total: 7.18mi, 7:30 pace
- Fun team relay at NP: wall sits, plank + leg lifts, basketball squats, all with running in between each station. Then an easy run back home. I love using my legs for transportation 🙂
Saturday: 20 miles. Day’s total, 20.17, 7:44 pace.
- Out to Barrington for our first 20 miler! The roads were pretty slushy but the weather was otherwise great! Began practicing my racing strategy: Easy first 2 miles and then settle into a steady pace, try picking it up at the end. I definitely did not want to get all the way down to goal marathon pace, so I held it in the 7:40s-7:50s and then went down to 7:30 for the last mile. My hip flexors were pretty tight, and the Fleet Feet van was not at the last hydration stop (meaning I didn’t have water from mile 13 until the end). I felt some twinges in the bottom of my left foot in miles 19 and 20 but I think that’s due to hydration. Overall a pretty solid run!
Sunday: (Supposed to be rest day) EZ 7. Day’s total: 7.30miles, 8:14 pace
- AM: Made up the miles I shuffled around earlier in the week. I felt totally fine for the day after a 20 miler! I did try running with some compression socks on so that may have helped, and I made sure to keep my pace very slow. Great end to my longest week yet!
- PM: Much needed Bikram Yoga at 105F. Hot and sweaty stretch session with Kaitlyn.