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It’s the week before the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and the excitement is starting to build up. Some newer runners might think that the race week taper is about cutting down on heavy training and eating less so that they feel light and fast on race day…while others intuitively think that carbo-loading with a big plate of pasta the night before the race will be enough to run well on race day. Both of these approaches will likely guarantee a ho-hum race performance…. so here is some food for thought to get you to race morning ready to put in the performance you’ve been training for!
Race week means that it is time to taper your training but NOT your diet. The carbohydrate rich sport nutrition diet that you (should) have been following needs to be continued all week to ensure that your muscles are topped up even more than usual. By maintaining your carbohydrate intake while tapering your training you can get 20-30% greater storage of carbohydrate in your muscles cells – which translates into better running performance on race day. While you might feel “heavy-legged” the morning of your run from all the extra carbohydrate and water that is now being stored in those muscle cells you will soon start turning this extra energy into muscular work. The bonus is – you will have some extra energy to burn!
Race Day - Words of Wisdom
Taking the advice of our resident Sport Dietitian Beth Mansfield, this month’s recipe is no recipe at all. Instead of cooking something new, focus on the tried and true when it comes to fueling in the days leading up to your race.
Do you run well when you eat pasta the night before? Are you like top U.S. marathoner Meb Keflezighi and sleep with a bagel beside your bed? Whatever your pre-race nutrition ritual, if it works for you, stick with it. That’s the recipe for success.
We’ll be back next month to cook up something interesting. Now where are those bagels?