SPOKANE, Wash. -- Bloomsday is Sunday and runners are gearing up for the course!
Many marathoners prepare with a traditional pre-race pasta dinner. It can be an opportunity to bond with other athletes but it is also an excuse to think of spaghetti as a health food. Training for a marathon can be a little more complicated than lacing up your sneaks and hitting the pavement. But forget elite athletes for a minute. What about the participants who want do something healthy and fun?
Pasta parties are popular in team sports. Carb-loading is a strategy used by runners and high endurance athletes. They eat foods high in carbs like breads and pastas while cutting back on protein and fat days before races. Exercise scientists said this practice is geared for moderate to hard effort events greater than ninety minutes. It maximizes the storage of glycogen a component of sugar that is stored in your muscles for energy. But according to The Mayo Clinic and running coaches, this is not necessary for shorter races or 12Ks like Bloomsday.
"I don't think carb-loading is necessary for a 7 mile race. Sometime when individuals carb load and they have not done that before it really upsets their stomach," said Betty Herberger , personal trainer, with Genetic Potential Academy.
In fact, over-carbing can do you more harm than good. You may end up with extra calories that you don't need. This could make you feel bloated and nauseous and like you have heavy legs before the starting gun fires. Personal trainers recommend to experiment with healthy amounts and combinations of carbohydrates, lean proteins and fats on practice runs to learn what works best for your system. This will avoid any stomach upset or surprises on race-day.
The Institute of Medicine recommends making 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories carbohydrates and to have a quality 200 to 300 calorie breakfast two to three hours before go time. This will give you the energy and time you need to digest your food. The majority of these calories should come from whole, unprocessed foods low in fat, high in carbs and moderate amounts of both fiber and protein. Aiming for less than 10 grams of fiber per serving (or less if you have a sensitive stomach) and limiting fat to 10 grams.
Options include toast or a bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter, oatmeal with a drizzle of honey: milk and fresh berries or a smoothie made with yogurt milk or nut milk and bananas.
According to doctors hydration before the race is key and will prevent severe injuries and accidents. “
Don't wait until the morning of or the day before ,“ recommends MultiCare Cardiologist Ian Riddock.
Aim to wash down your pre-race breakfast with 12 to 20 ounces of water about an hour before the race to prevent a mid-race bathroom break. Make sure you re-hydrate at water stations along the way. If you need a little head start , doctors say a half a cup of coffee is safe but high caffeine energy drinks could be dangerous.
“Its sometimes tough to really understand and know how much caffeine you are actually drinking,” said Dr. Riddock
Doctors also say to avoid alcohol a couple of days before you participate. But before you run out the door, pack a lunch!
A turkey sandwich, a protein smoothie with fruit or something as simple as eight ounces of chocolate milk.
These tips will give your body the energy and nourishment it needs to cross the finish line and repair those leg muscles. Health and fitness experts say to taper back on activity completely a few days before the big race. These tips will give your body the energy and nourishment it needs to cross the finish line and repair those leg muscles.