Monday, January 26, 2015

What to eat for Broad Street

You've pulled yourself out of a warm bed on Saturday mornings for the last 10 weeks. You've stretched, cross-trained, and iced. You've worked hard for this race, and you are ready. So what's left?

What to eat for Broad Street

Runners take off from the starting line during the 32nd running of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 1, 2011. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Runners take off from the starting line during the 32nd running of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 1, 2011. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Beth Wallace, a dietition at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, is chronicling the journey of her and her motley group of roomates as they battle to beat each other in the Broad Street Run. In this third installment, she offers some advice on what to eat before the race. Check out all of our Broad Street Run coverage at www.philly.com/broadstreetrun.

You’ve pulled yourself out of a warm bed on Saturday mornings for the last 10 weeks. You’ve stretched, cross-trained, and iced. You’ve worked hard for this race, and you are ready. So what’s left?

Making sure you are well nourished before you get to the starting line on Sunday. 

That’s where I come in. As a dietitian and a runner, I understand that how you fuel up before a race can have a major impact on your performance. It’s as easy as your ABC(D)’s, and your nutrition plan starts ... now.

— Avoid any new foods. This is not the time to experiment with your stomach. Eating that new protein bar from the race Expo for breakfast that claims to be “the perfect endurance fuel for people running 10 miles on May 6th” is playing with fire.  Go with what you know.

Breakfast is a must.  Studies show that a pre-race meal helps keep blood sugar steady, and keep you from crashing.  What should you eat?  A mix of easily digested, low fiber carbohydrates and protein at least 2 hours before the start time.   

C — “Carb-load” smart. Your body uses glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates) for energy more easily that it uses fat stores, but an enormous meal leaves you uncomfortable in the morning. Instead of eating a box of pasta for dinner, increase the portion of carbohydrates in all of your meals the day before the race.

D — Drink enough, but not too much. Dehydration leads to early fatigue and increased cardiovascular stress, but over-hydrating causes bloating dilution of your electrolytes. How much do you need?   Drink enough fluid the days before the race to make the color of your urine pale yellow, then drink 8-16 ounces of water or a sports drink the morning of.

What are your fellow runners eating?

Runner:  Ryan Fennelly- manager at Philadelphia Runner

Anticipated Finish Time:  0:55:00 (No, that’s not a typo.  He will actually finish under an hour.)

Pre-Race Dinner: Spaghetti and Meatballs, Vitamin Water

Race Day Breakfast:  6 AM- Bagel with peanut butter and Gatorade

At the starting line: Energy gel

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Runner:  Maddy Crippen- former Olympic swimmer, running in honor of her brother‘s charity, the Fran Crippen Elevation Foundation, to offer financial assistance and support to Olympic hopefuls

Anticipated Finish Time:  Absolutely no idea.  Maddy’s plan is to enjoy the 10 miles through her hometown and catch up with friends on the way

Pre-Race Dinner:  Chicken and vegetable fajitas and one (just one) margarita in honor of Cinco de Mayo

Race Day Breakfast: A nutrition bar (Cliff and Power Bar are her favorites), coffee (ALWAYS), water

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Runner:  Beth Wallace- Registered Dietitian, Philly.com blogger, yours truly

Anticipated Finish Time:  Faster than my roommates

Pre-Race Dinner:  Pasta with tomato sauce and shrimp, water

Race Day Breakfast:  (6 a.m.) Two pieces of toast with peanut butter, ½ of a banana, coconut water

One more thing, I don’t think there’s much room for the Margaritas or Mint Juleps before the race, but I won’t tell you what to do after. 

Beth Wallace contributes regularly to Philly.com's Healthy Kids blog. Read her previous installments about racing down Broad Street:

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Check Up covers regional health news and a wide array of healthcare topics from pharmaceutical happenings to patient safety. Read about some of our bloggers here.

Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

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