Summer is approaching and that means your Instagram will soon be filled with all your overachiever friends running their 5K, 10K and half marathons. I ran my first half marathon last summer and have been addicted ever since. Now, I know that sounds like a ridiculous statement. Addicted to half marathons… How? Why? Literally though… Why?!
Before my first half I couldn’t imagine running more than 5 miles at a time. And to be honest, I didn’t run more than 5 miles until that first half. (Looking back, I would definitely recommend more training for those of you reading this and thinking of trying a half). However, the “runner’s high” you feel around mile 7 is real, and the accomplishment you get after crossing the finish line is worth all the doubts you had around mile 10 (trust me). Even better than the accomplishment is the delicious “treat yo’self” meal that comes after every half marathon (where you legit just pig out).
Here is a list of what to eat before and after your next half marathon:
First and foremost, make sure that you do not switch up your daily routine the day of the half marathon. You want to continue doing what’s been working for you during your training.
Oatmeal is a fantastic complex carb which will give you loads of energy the morning before the half marathon. It also works includes lots of fiber which will keep you full for the run rather than leaving you hungry at mile 3! If you’re feeling bummed out by the same old oatmeal options, check out these ways to upgrade your oatmeal.
You’ve heard it a million times: eat a banana to prevent cramps and give you potassium, and it’s true. Not only does it prevent muscle cramps but it also gives you energy and helps sustain your blood sugar during your run, an important thing when you are losing electrolytes through sweat.
Pasta parties are a very common thing to take part in the night before a big race. Now you all know that you should “carbo load” the night before, but make sure not to over do it on the pasta because that can cause you to feel sluggish the next morning, especially for those early starts! Here are a few delicious pasta dishes you can try to add variety.
The holy grail. Gatorade will give you the burst of energy you need to get hyped about running 13 miles, it also is full of electrolytes, which you will lose throughout the run.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It’s important to sip water the morning before so that your stomach is not too full. However, the week leading up to your race you should be drinking enough water where your pee is only slightly yellow (weird but true). This means that you are staying consistently hydrated which is necessary for a good run. If plain water gets boring, here’s 8 ways to make your water taste better.
My personal favorite “lucky meal” is salmon the night before. Salmon is packed with omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and potassium! The healthy fats will give you energy the next morning and are also super easy to make, check out this recipe for baked salmon.
It’s important to replenish your body with all the carbohydrates it has used up and the nutrients it has lost during the 13 mile run. However, one mistake many runners make is to over indulge in junk food post race because “they burned so many calories.” Yes, you just burned an insane amount of calories, but it’s important to replace those calories with nutrients that will help repair your body for a speedy recovery.
7. 4:1 Carbs to Protein Ratio
This ratio is how you can organise your post race plate. The carbohydrates will help to refuel the energy you used up over those 13 miles and combining it with protein will help your muscle recovery.
8. Chocolate Milk
This is a delicious way to get those amino acids and simple sugars your body will be craving. Check out this delicious way to make chocolate milk from scratch which you can even make the night before and bring with you!
9. Sports Bars
Sports bars are great for getting carbs and energy back into your system quickly after finishing your race. Be careful here to eat the good ones packed with real ingredients and less sugar such as Nakd bars and less of the ones full of sugary ingredients! Check out this ranking of Nature Valley bars for your next grocery store trip.
Hello, Chipotle! Burritos are full of carbs, protein, and veggies which is a great meal to refuel and feel full after you race.
11. Keep Hydrating
Water, more gatorade, powerade, whatever it is don’t forget to hydrate after you cross the finish line because your body will most likely be very dehydrated even if you prepared properly. This is an important aspect many people forget to do even hours after you cross the finish line, so remember to keep sippin’.
A smoothie will not only help to rehydrate you but will get a ton of nutrients into your body fast. Make sure to pack your smoothie full of good for you foods. Check out how to make the perfect smoothie here.
13. Treat Yo’Self
Although you should be refueling with nutrients… You just ran 13 miles and that’s something to reward yourself for. So why not indulge in that Ben & Jerry’s?! You deserve it (you’re such a bad ass).