Fuelled Right

Bronwen Salmon

I have learnt some very important lessons over this last year about the importance of correct fuelling before a race. I took part in the Leeds Half last year and a complete lack of knowledge about fuelling correctly left me in quite a bad way and it was very lucky for me that my fellow run leaders at Farsley Flyers, Alison and Duncan were there to pick me back up!


So here are so good pointers for any of you taking on a 10k or even a half in the near future…



1) The night before…


– This is really important for your longer distance races, anything where you are running 90 minutes or more…but it’s worth considering in moderation for a 10k. Look to have a carbohydrate based evening meal; rice, pasta or potato is ideal, but stay away from anything too rich or creamy which won’t digest easily! By doing this you are boosting your energy stores ready for the big race. 


– Aim to keep well hydrated the evening before your race also….and not with alcohol!



2) The morning of the race…


– Breakfast is REALLY important (trust me), aim to eat 2-3 hours before your race. If you are used to doing ‘fasted’ running in the morning like I am, try a couple of runs where you eat breakfast before, experiment with the food and time before running and see what works for you.


– Ideas for breakfast: cereal, porridge and toast – all work and you can add some fruit in like banana. The key to this is not trying anything new before race day but seeing what works for you on previous runs. Having a breakfast like this will boost your glycogen stores, which is what will push you through the race.



3) During the race…


– This is down to personal preference and there are lots of gels, sweets and similar stuff out there that you can experiment with. I would personally say that up to an hour of running you don’t really need to fuel during the race, anything more than an hour, you will probably benefit from an energy boost!


– This is definitely something you should have a look at before race day as some gels on the market don’t agree with everyone and you don’t want to be ill during your race!



4) After the race…


– The fuelling doesn’t stop after the race as fuelling for recovery is important too. Make sure you grab a sports drink or chocolate bar as soon as you feel up to eating and try to do this no later than 60 minutes after finishing, your body will thank you for it!



These are just a few points to consider and the way you fuel will depend on the length of the race you are getting involved in, but by taking this advice on board I have successfully avoided any further ‘crash outs’ like I had last year in April, so it definitely works!



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