Hope you all are having a great week. I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday! This week has been extremely busy, starting with my birthday celebration and followed by numerous group meetings, running, and eating. Lots and lots of eating. When I am training, I feel like I’m always hungry…so I’m constantly bringing snacks with me everywhere I go!
Speaking of being hungry/always eating, a few of the girls I am running the Illinois Half-Marathon with have been asking what to eat the night before race day. Although I am not an expert, I do have some tricks and tips I’ve learned first-hand from running a half and full marathon in the past.
Day before a half marathon:
- Eat pasta for dinner. I would recommend eating it with a mild sauce, and one that is not creamy. You really want to avoid anything that can be hard on your stomach. Extremely spicy sauces and creamy sauces may give you tummy troubles the next day, so avoid them to (hopefully) bypass these problems. Also, do not over-eat. Before my first race, I thought it was necessary to eat as much pasta as humanly possible to “help” me with the race. Thankfully, my stomach didn’t kill me (I’d like to give out a shout-out to my Italian genes here and say THANK YOU!), but I have found from talking to people and doing some research that it is not necessary to overload yourself with carbs the night before a race by over-eating. (Note: although you will eat more carbs before a full marathon than before a half, you should never over-eat). Over-eating can cause extreme discomfort and unnecessary trips to the bathroom during the race, so only eat until you are full.
- Avoid anything overly spicy or a “new” food. Why risk eating something that could possibly mess with your stomach? Just avoid it!
- Avoid eating whole nuts, corn, and anything that has a lot of fiber. This is something I’ve learned from a fellow runner, Rem, and it definitely makes sense. You don’t want to eat anything that can cause you to run to the bathroom when you should be concentrating on the finish line. Note: smooth peanut butter is A-OK, because it’s not a “whole” nut…but don’t use crunchy peanut butter!
- Drink lots and lots of water. It’s important that your body is nice and hydrated. Bring a water bottle with you everywhere and anywhere (you should always be doing this though! ).
- Avoid alcohol, coffee, and anything that can dehydrate you. This is something that I personally think is important, but others may disagree. I have heard in the past that it is good to avoid alcohol before a marathon and I am assuming it is also helpful to avoid it before a half. The coffee part is my own idea; I am in love with coffee (but not coffee-flavored GU) and also feel that it is best to avoid it the day before race day. I find it to be very dehydrating so I replace it with water whenever it is around race time.
Hopefully you find my list helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to address them
Questions for you:
What do you like to eat the day before a race?
Do you avoid coffee around races?
Here are a couple of websites related to fueling that you may find helpful:
What to Do the Day Before Running a Marathon or Half Marathon
What Should I Eat Before and During My First Half-Marathon?