- What to eat during training
During training, it is important to maintain a balance between all macro and micro nutrients. Foods such as nuts, dry fruits and seeds can easily be incorporated in a regular diet. Chia seeds, one of the most easily available seeds, is proven to be an endurance booster. Inflammatory foods such as excess coffee, meat and processed sugar must be avoided and anti-inflammatory foods such as green vegetables, turmeric and legumes must be consumed to aid the process of recovery. Fruits such as watermelon, orange and kiwi must also be incorporated due to their high water, electrolyte and anti-oxidant content. Vegetables such as beetroots, spinach and lettuce can be included for their high nitrite content, which helps boost endurance.
- What to eat one week prior to race day
One week prior to the race, increase your carb intake by 20-30%, do not go overboard with carb-loading, since regular Indian meals have a high percentage of carbohydrates in themselves. Ensure that you’re hydrated throughout the day. Foods like white rice, chapatis, potatoes, etc should be consumed.
- What to eat one day prior to race day
Do not experiment with anything new in order to avoid GI issues. Spicy, high fiber and fried foods should be avoided. Try to eat whatever you’ve been eating during your regular training block. It is important to drink about three liters of water and stay hydrated throughout the day. This can be through electrolytes as well, but avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks since they tend to dehydrate the body. Foods such as sweet potato, pasta, white rice and watermelon should be consumed.
- Race day nutrition
It is important to wake up a couple of hours before the race, so that your breakfast can be digested before the race. Your breakfast should be something simple and light, like bananas, peanut butter and whole wheat bread, dates or oatmeal. Drink small amounts of water to ensure that you’re hydrated.
Depending on the distance and time of the race, decide what you will be eating during the race and try it out during training. This can include energy gels, bananas, oranges, dates and electrolytes.
- What to eat after the race
You’ve completed the race, it’s time to celebrate! This doesn’t mean going overboard on the greasy and processed snacks. It is imperative for your muscles to recover and prevent accumulation of excess metabolic waste products. Various free radicals are generated post workout, which is why eating foods high in antioxidants is also essential. Your body ideally needs carbohydrates and proteins in a 4:1 ratio. Fruits like watermelon, different types of berries, bananas and pineapple are a good source of antioxidants. Your body’s glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, and consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them. Oatmeal, potatoes, and pasta are a great source of carbohydrates. Exercise triggers breakdown of muscle protein. It is thus important to have adequate amount of protein, in order to hasten the process of recovery. Some protein rich foods are green vegetables, legumes, nuts and dry fruits.
This article was written by Navaal Rai and Anushka Singh.