Four Tips to Fuel a Breakfast-Time Run

4 Tips to Fuel a Breakfast Time RunBreak­fast before a long train­ing exer­cise or race is impor­tant for endurance ath­letes. Try­ing to fig­ure out how much food to con­sume depends on a vari­ety of fac­tors includ­ing race dis­tance, the weath­er, your size, metab­o­lism, and oth­er crit­i­cal criteria.

Here are a few tips ath­letes should con­sid­er when fuel­ing up for a race.

Load Up the Right Way

If done prop­er­ly, car­bo-load­ing can yield numer­ous ben­e­fits for endurance ath­letes (some ath­letes can eat a big meal the night before the race, while oth­ers may end up get­ting sick if they do that). You know your body best. Just remem­ber that it’s called car­bo-load­ing and not calo­rie-load­ing. You should increase your con­sump­tion of calo­ries begin­ning a week pri­or to race day, but don’t go over­board. Make sure you are eat­ing clean foods that aren’t processed, have organ­ic/all-nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents, and that don’t com­plete­ly anni­hi­late your stomach.

Eat Before the Race

Eat Before the Race
Sports nutri­tion­ists rec­om­mend eat­ing four hours pri­or to a race, but that’s most like­ly impos­si­ble with ear­ly hour race starts. If you eat oat­meal or pan­cakes 90 min­utes to two hours before race time you’ll be okay. Feel free to add 100% Maple Syrup to your pan­cakes or on your oat­meal, but keep whichev­er you choose con­sis­tent through­out your training.

Pri­or to exer­cise, at least 80 per­cent of calo­ries con­sumed should be car­bo­hy­drates – avoid pro­tein until after the race. Carbs are impor­tant because the human body digests them rapid­ly, mak­ing them the ide­al fuel source for ath­letes. Reduce your con­sump­tion of foods with fat and fiber, as you don’t want any stom­ach issues while racing.

If the weath­er is hot and you’re con­cerned about sodi­um intake, add a bit more salt to the pan­cakes or oat­meal while it’s being made.

Don’t Over Eat!
Too many ath­letes tend to make car­bo-load­ing an all-you-can-eat food binge pri­or to races. Car­bo-load­ing is impor­tant if you’ll be run­ning dis­tances of 10+ miles but you don’t need to go crazy try­ing to fuel up. If you eat too much or get too cre­ative with your food selec­tions, you can end up get­ting sick and feel­ing uneasy with race-day phys­i­cal illness.

If you can’t stom­ach oat­meal or pan­cakes, try eat­ing a bagel, which has a large num­ber of carbs, digests eas­i­ly, and like­ly won’t make you sick because it’s rel­a­tive­ly bland. But that shouldn’t be all you eat, so make sure to include anoth­er carb-heavy snack you know your stom­ach can handle.

Don’t For­get the Fluids
With so much focus on eat­ing, some ath­letes for­get to hydrate, but drink­ing water before a race is impor­tant. Pri­or to a race, be sure to con­sume around 20 flu­id ounces of water, with 200mg of sodi­um. Sports nutri­tion­ists rec­om­mend drink­ing a sports drink loaded with elec­trolytes lead­ing up to the race. Again, don’t try to get too cre­ative on race day– stick to what you’ve done in train­ing, what you know your body can handle.

Bonus Tip: Remem­ber, make sure you test your nutri­tion­al activ­i­ties dur­ing train­ing, so know what to expect come race day. Try to fol­low the same plan that has giv­en you pri­or suc­cess, and don’t mix it up too much.

Final Thoughts
Ath­letes need to try a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent things and see what works best for each indi­vid­ual. You can get feed­back from oth­er ath­letes, but remem­ber that every­one digests food dif­fer­ent­ly dur­ing phys­i­cal work­outs. Focus on clean­ing up your diet a few days pri­or to the race, and go carb-heavy the morn­ing of the event. It’s going to take a bit of research and tri­al-and-error on your part to dial things in and get them ready for race day, so pre­pare accord­ing­ly dur­ing your training.

Have fun out there!