Nike We Run KL 2016: Diet and last minute tips from Coach Din and Sue
Get set, go!
Diet plays an all-important role to fueling up our bodies - we are what we eat, after all. To maximise your training efforts (will we see you at the final training run tomorrow morning?), Coach Sue and Din weigh in on what to eat and what to avoid before next weekend's We Run KL 2016 race—one nasi lemak, hold the sambal, please.
Any foods in particular runners should eat or avoid in the lead up to the race?
Coach Din (D): Runners should avoid eating foods that are high in fat, too oily, and too spicy. This is because it can lead to issues with our breathing and digestion during the race. Runners should eat more carbs, like rice, bread, pasta and noodles as this will give you more energy. Protein such as chicken or beef should be avoided a few days before the race because it slows down our body's digestion system.
Coach Sue (S): Because running burns so many calories, runners need to maintain energy balance by having adequate stores of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats) used for energy. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include wholegrain breads, rice, pasta, legumes and fruits. Good protein sources are meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and soy foods. Fats should also be included in a runners diet as it can provide double the calories compared to the same weight of carbs or protein. Healthy fats include polyunsaturated fats like soybean or sunflower oil and monounsaturated fats such as peanut old and olive oil.
Leading up to the race, runners should carb-load during taper week and not just the day before. Gradually increase the percentage of carbohydrate consumed to about 70% of daily calorie intake. Hydrate regularly with water or a sports drink to keep hydration levels up. Avoid spicy foods as it could upset your digestive system. Avoid any foods that you are not familiar with as we don't know how our bodies would react. Lastly, eat at hygienic eateries to safe guard against food poisoning!
On race day itself, what should runners do or avoid?
D: Runners should avoid eating too close to race time or doing any strenuous exercises they haven't done before on race day. Do warm up exercises such as a short jog, as well as plenty of stretches to avoid injury during the race.
S: On race day, stick to your usual morning routine, do not do anything out of the ordinary as the last thing you want is an unexpected surprise. Aim to wake up at least 3 hours before start time to give yourself time to wake the body up, eat something, get your gear on and go to the bathroom. Get to the start line no later than 60 minutes before flag off. You will need to do some warm up, drop off baggage and go to the bathroom one last time. About 15 minutes before start, get into the corral with the other runners. While waiting, do some mental prep by taking a few deep breaths, visualising your race, clearing your mind and reminding yourself you are relaxed and ready to take on the race!
Given the race starts at 5.30am, should runners have breakfast before the race? What's your take on drinking while racing?
D: Runners should have their breakfast a couple of hours before the start of the race to allow their bodies to properly digest the food, as well as to give energy needed to run the 21km race. I would advise runners to drink at every water station to avoid getting dehydrated.
S: Pre-race breakfast is a very individual thing. If you are used to eating breakfast before your long runs, then you should stick to the routine. Routine rules here, by now you should have already done many 'rehearsals' during training and know what works for you. If you do eat breakfast, make sure you eat 3 to 4 hours before race. Eat easily digestible carbohydrates and continue to sip on water or a sports drink in the 2 hours before the start. While racing, try sipping on a sport drink or water every 15-20 minutes. To delay dehydration, you could drink a sports drink that contains sodium. The sodium in the drink will stimulate your kidneys to retain water.
Final words of advice?
D: Make sure you run at a pace that your body is comfortable with and used to - pushing too far beyond your capabilities could cause injuries such as cramps, hamstring or groin injury. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the race!
S: Keep to your training plan, stay hydrated and have fun!
We Run KL 2016 race route:
Good luck runners!