Whether you’re running a marathon, half marathon or 5K, it’s important to properly prepare your mind and fuel your body before and after a race. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced runner or you’re planning to run your first race, the plan below can help you get started. Remember to always check with your healthcare provider before changing your diet.

Week of Race Meals

  • Focus on fruits. Most people need 1 1/2 to 2 cups per day.
    • Options include:
      • 1 cup of fresh fruit
      • 1 cup of 100% fruit juice
      • ½ cup of dried fruit can be considered as 1 cup from the fruit cup. 
  • Mix up your vegetables. Include a variety. Most people need 2 to 3 cups per day.
    • Options include:
      • 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables
      • 1 cup of vegetable juice
      • 2 cups of raw leafy greens can be considered as 1 cup from the vegetable group. 
  • Choose lean protein. Most people need 5 to 6 ounces of protein per day.
    • Options include:
      • 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish
      • ¼ cup of cooked beans
      • 1 egg
      • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
      • ½ ounce of nuts or seeds considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the protein foods group
    • Plant-based protein options:
      • Beans, peas, nuts and soy products 
  • Pick whole grains. Most people need at least 3 servings of whole grains per day.
    • Options include:
      • 1 slice of bread
      • 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
      • ½ cup of cooked rice can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent (serving) from the grains group
      • ½ cup of cooked pasta can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent (serving) from the grains group  
  • Calcium-rich foods are important. Most people need 3 cups per day.
    • Options include:
      • 1 cup of milk
      • 1 cup of yogurt
      • 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the dairy group
    • If you are lactose intolerant, look for non-dairy beverages fortified with calcium, such as soymilk, almond milk and cashew milk.

 Plan your meals with direction from My Plate, which is detailed at ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Lunch Suggestion – Day Before Race

Chicken-Meatball and Hummus Tabouleh Bowls

chicken meatball and hummus tabouleh bowls in containers

Dinner Suggestion – Night Before Race

Herb-Pesto Salmon with Quinoa-Kale Salad

herb pesto salmon with quinoa kale salad plated

 

Smart Snacking

Get an extra boost before your run by eating nutritious snacks. A good rule of thumb is to choose snacks that contain both protein and carbohydrates, which can help maintain a healthy blood sugar level and keep you from getting hungry before your next meal. Choose from these delicious options below.

  • Nuts and berries
  • Apple and peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese with baby carrots
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Fruit and cheese

Pre-Workout Foods

  • Avocado Toast
  • Carrots and Hummus
  • Banana

avocado toast with red pepper flakes

Post-Race Recovery

Help your body recover by drinking fluids and eating the proper foods. Hydrating should be a priority post-race and your goal should be to replace any fluid lost during your run. Replacing muscle glycogen (stored energy) in the liver and muscles is an important factor in proper recovery from training. Research has shown that the window of opportunity for optimal muscle glycogen replenishment is within 15 to 30 minutes after exercise. Along with carbohydrates, it may be beneficial to consume protein to help build and repair muscle tissue. Several different carbohydrate-to-protein ratios have been suggested, including 2:1, 3:1 or 4:1. Some good choices for such ratios include commercial recovery beverages, chocolate milk, yogurt and fruit, cereal with milk, and a smoothie with whey protein and fruit.

 

 

Caroline A.

Written by

Caroline started with Publix as a cashier in 2015 and has developed a passion for writing and social media. She loves being a part of Publix’s culture and enjoys bringing new ideas to The Publix Checkout by writing about topics customers might not know about the company. Pub Subs and Publix Sweet Tea are her favorites, and you’ll always find her with an iced coffee in hand. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys traveling, watching college football and playing with her fur child.

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