As registered dietitians and as New York City dwellers, New York City Marathon day is one of our favorites. There’s excitement in the air— and it’s truly inspiring to watch all of those who have set out to run the 26.2 mile course and who have trained hard for months, and practiced their nutrition protocol, especially during their long runs. Just watching people at the finish line gives us a high–as if we ran the marathon ourselves–it’s that inspiring! For months leading up to the ING NYC Marathon many marathon runner hopefuls come through our office doors in search of the best way to maximize their nutrition for an amazing run. If you are preparing for the race, here are some of our tips:
Check out our post on what to eat 4-6 months before the marathon here.
Check out our post on what to eat 48 hours before the marathon here.
The day before the marathon is an exciting one! Now’s the time to continue doing all that you have practiced in terms of your nutrition.
One day before the marathon: More than likely, you’ve been working hard to eat nutritious foods to fuel your training, so now is the time to eat similarly .
- Make sure you are getting plenty of carbs (Yes, your friends will be very envious that you have to eat plenty of ’em 🙂 ) to maximize your muscle energy stores (glycogen) by including carbohydrates at each meal (yay!). Good options are brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal and pasta.and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and eat your typical meals that are familiar to you.
- Focus on getting plenty of fluids. Today is a very important day to hydrate so sip on a water bottle throughout the day and drink at least 10 ounces of water with your meals.
- Avoid large meals, they’ll weigh you down and leave you feeling lethargic and heavy. (Bloat isn’t a good look anyway 😉 )
- A MISTAKE MANY RUNNERS MAKE: They eat a large meal the night before the run. This can backfire when you wake up feeling lethargic and bloated–imagine trying to run the morning after eating Thanksgiving Dinner. No fun! Dinner: Keep the portion size modest, do not gorge yourself! An all-time favorite for many of our clients, is Pasta with Grilled chicken and vegetables, providing enough carbohydrates to top off your body’s energy stores, so you’ll be fully fueled to run 26.2 miles in the morning.
- Avoid fatty foods, dairy, fried foods, meats, roughage and nuts, as they all can slow digestion and cause extra stomach strain in your stomach which may already be a bit jittery and hampering normal digestion. (Being doubled over in pain or having indigestion is exhausting and can wear you out before the big run!)
A few things to consider:
• WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T TELL YOU: As exciting as the marathon is, you’re also nervous and anxious and want to do your best. This all stresses the immune system right before you run a race that majorly stresses your immune system. So you’ll want to make your body and immune system as strong and well-equipped as possible for your run. The key is to flood your body with stress-fighting, damage-preventing nutrients that also fight inflammation so that your body is strong and in good working order when you head out on race day.
- Use our Red, Orange or Green rule–– choose one fruit or veggie that is any of these colors at each meal to ensure you are ingesting antioxidants to fight free-radical damage as well as anti-inflammatories (to keep your insides more calm) Think oranges, berries, spinach– go for your favorites!
• If you have been drinking beet juice, now is the time to get it back in your system, but only if you’ve had it before—it’s not the time to test anything new. Beets are packed with dietary nitrates, which help blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to muscles during exercise and decreasing the amount of oxygen muscles need. Studies show that muscles are able to work more efficiently and move faster. Nitrate levels benefit from a loading phase so 6-8 ounces today and yesterday (hopefully you read our guide for 48 hours before the race! **see below if not) will help before you drink it on race day. (If you don’t love the taste, mix it with apple juice).
- Take deep breaths, try to relax and sleep well, the stronger your immune system is when you set out to run the race and the healthier you are, the easier it will be for you to run your A-game race.
- We can’t wait to watch you! Go get ’em tiger! Good luck! You rock!! 🙂 🙂
**We recommend testing using beet juice before some of your runs. Beet juice is packed with dietary nitrates, which help blood vessels dilate, increasing blood flow to muscles during exercise and decreasing the amount of oxygen muscles need. So muscles are able to work more efficiently and move faster. Nitrate levels benefit from a loading dose, so you can start to build up your levels a few days before a race or competition. Generally during the loading phase, aim to consume atout 6-8 ounces of beet juice daily. Studies have shown that drinking half a liter (about 17 ounces) of beet juice two to three hours before running can enhance performance. Pssst… if you don’t like the taste you can mix it with a little apple juice. 🙂
- And here are some important reminders:
- • Focus on getting plenty of fluids.
- • Maximize your muscle energy stores (glycogen) by including carbohydrates at each meal. Now's the time to have really enjoy it! Good options are brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal and pasta.
- • WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T TELL YOU: Most people feel both excited and a little anxious—even good stress/ excitement taxes the body, so you’ll want to make your body and immune system are as strong and well-equipped as possible for your run. And running a marathon puts a huge stress on the immune system. It’s easy to get nervous and feel tempted to try something new that a friend mentions helped them. But don’t stray too far from your typical diet since your body can tolerate it and is accustomed to it. Be careful not to get so focused on manipulating carbohydrates that you forget about bolstering your immune system. Pack your diet with stress-fighting, damage-preventing nutrients that also fight inflammation so that your body is strong and in good working order when you head out on race day.
- • Use our
- Red, Orange or Green rule
- to choose one produce item that is any of these colors at each meal to ensure you are ingesting antioxidants to fight free-radical damage as well as anti-inflammatories (to keep your insides more calm) and fiber to keep any possible toxins moving out of your digestive tract.
- • Steer clear of foods that don’t pack nutrients and that add stress to your system like alcohol, refined grains and sweet and fried foods.
- • If you've been practicing with beet juice before your runs, continue on with your loading phase and continue to drink about 6-8 ounces today. If you don't like the way it tastes, add some apple juice to it.
- • Limit refined grains, fatty meats, sweets and fried foods. They’ll weigh you down and make you feel sluggish and crowd out healthy foods that may provide nutrients and long-lasting energy.
- • A MISTAKE MANY RUNNERS MAKE: They eat a large meal the night before the run. This can backfire when you wake up feeling lethargic and bloated. Think of the way you feel the morning after Thanksgiving. Now imagine running 26.2 miles. It seems nearly impossible! So have a carbohydrate-rich meal that will top off your glycogen stores. A favorite among are runners is pasta with some chicken and vegetables. Keep the portion moderate in size so you don't feel sick, bloated or heavy in the morning.