GUEST BLOG POST BY: Brooke Schantz Fosco MS, RDN, LDN, CSSD
Brooke is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. You can view more articles and information from Brooke on her website, Bitchin’ Nutrition.
1) Stay hydrated!
Water is the most important nutrient 5K runners can consume on race day. Losing as little as 2% of your body weight leads to impaired athletic performance and cognitive function. Follow these fluid replacement guidelines before, during, and after your training and race to stay hydrated:
• Before Exercise: Two hours prior to exercise consume 16-20 ounces of water and 10-20 minutes prior to exercise consume 7-10 ounces of water.
• During Exercise: Every 15-20 minutes consume 6-8 ounces of water.
• After Exercise: For every pound lost during exercise, 24 ounces of fluid should be consumed to aid in hydration maintenance.
2) Energize with intake.
In order for an athlete to reach optimal performance, it is vital that an appropriate amount of energy (fuel) be consumed. An athlete reaches daily energy balance when energy intake equals energy expenditure. Therefore, if you are burning more energy during bouts of exercise than you are consuming you would be in an energy deficient. Some studies have shown that athletes unable to consume enough calories (energy) to sustain their daily expenditure have seen a decrease in their performance. To make sure your Warrior Dash performance doesn’t suffer make sure that you consume enough energy during training and the day of the event.
3) Don’t carbohydrate load.
Consumption of carbohydrates prior to exercise increases an individual’s glycogen (energy) stores. Our bodies normally deplete glycogen stores after 60 minutes of exercise and as a result many athletes experience the “hit the wall” feeling. Carbohydrate loading is often done by endurance athletes for a race or competition to help delay the onset of fatigue. However, carbohydrate loading is only recommended for athletes exercising longer than 90 minutes. Since, most runners complete a 5K in less than 60 minutes carbohydrate loading is not recommended for this type of race.
4) Fuel for Success.
Before you exercise it is important to consume a carbohydrate-rich snack or meal. It is recommended to consume a meal or snack that is low in fat and fiber so your body may properly digest all of the food.
• 3-4 hours before a morning race try one of these options: peanut butter with whole wheat toast, fruit and yogurt smoothie, or whole wheat English muffin and a small banana.
• 30-60 minutes prior to your race you could consume: a sports drink, water with a granola bar, or water with a cup of grapes.
5) Practice, Practice, Practice.
It’s important to practice your nutrition and hydration schedule ahead of time. Race day is not the time to include a whole wheat bagel in your normally consistent pre-event breakfast, start drinking coffee, or try out the latest sports gel. If you don’t practice your food and hydration pattern before race day you won’t know how your body will react and your performance could suffer.