Your day-before-the-race nutrition plan is essential to performing well on the big day. We’ve put together a meal plan for the day before a race with input from our very own runners, nutritionists, and plant-based enthusiasts. However, you know your body best – and you’re the one putting in the hours training.
Try to proactively include specific foods and fluids as part of your training preparation, so there are no surprises when you get to the race. That way, you can ensure that you’re well-fueled to perform your best.
Here’s a look at how we recommend fueling the day before a half marathon.
One dedicated runner and holistic nutritionist recommends starting the day with 2 pieces of sprouted grain toast, spread with coconut oil or nut butter for complex carbohydrates and sustained energy from fair. Try pairing your toast with a blended smoothie, rich in whole foods like goji berries, hemp seeds, vitamin C from fresh oranges, and potassium from frozen banana. Iron-rich foods (like cocoa powder, goji berries, and hemp seeds) are especially important for female athletes and vegetarians who may to ensure they’re getting enough iron. Iron plays a crucial role in the formation of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells. That’s what supports circulation, and especially carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the cells, tissues and organs in the body.
Don’t forget to hydrate throughout the day. Water is your best bet, but fresh pressed juices, electrolytes, and kombucha are all fair game as well. Try a juice with cucumber, ginger, apple, and spirulina; you’ll get chlorophyll and minerals like silicon (in cucumber) which plays a role in maintaining healthy tissue, such as nails, skin, and connective tissue.
Lunch is the perfect meal to load up with healthy carbohydrates – you still have ample time before race day, and don’t need to go to bed shortly after as you do with dinner. Try eating mindfully and chewing thoroughly.
Be sure to get a mix of plant-based protein, colorful vegetables, and a hearty amount of starchy carbohydrates. Think yam, beets, rutabaga, or potatoes. If you’re craving something sweet, try adding a Vega Sport Protein Bar; you’ll get a delicious 20g protein and 26g carbohydrates.
Don’t forget to keep your energy up throughout the day. We recommend trying dairy-free yogurt (like almond yogurt) mixed with a half scoop of Vega Sport Premium Protein in vanilla, paired with apple slices or grapes. You’ll get BCAAs (which help preserve muscle tissue), and carbohydrates to get you through the afternoon.
Most runners like to carb up on the night before race day. While carbohydrates are important, don’t go overboard and fall asleep feeling stuffed or sluggish. Try something carb-dense like dairy-free risotto, baked sweet potato, gnocchi, or whole-grain pasta and focus on portion control.
One Vegatopian swears by her booze-free kombucha sangria. Try mixing 2 cups of kombucha with ½ cup of tart cherry juice – which is rich in antioxidants, and a natural sleep aid) – and steeping in half an orange and half an apple. Hydrating, antioxidating, and delicious!
Don’t forget: lots of sleep, foam rolling, and Epsom salt baths help too!
With fuel like this, you’ll be well prepped to run your next personal best on race day. Comment below and let us know what you like to eat before a race.