Eat what suits YOU!

Large doses of supplementary vitamins and minerals (such as iron) are not essential and produce no benefits if you are already on a good mixed diet, but additional vitamin C in small doses is reasonable when fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply.
Training (with adequate rest) helps you to sustain a high level of muscle glycogen as long as you eat enough carbohydrate. If you can, eat within the two-hour period after your long runs and your race. This will help to replace the muscle glycogen quickly and will speed up your recovery.

Do not change your normal diet drastically in the last week before a race, but eat less protein (meat) and eat more carbohydrate (pasta, bread, potatoes, cereals, rice and sweet foods) – especially for the last three days before the race, when you should also be markedly reducing your training. Eating more carbohydrate loads your muscles with glycogen and will delay or prevent you from ‘hitting the wall’. NB: you will not eat enough carbohydrate unless you reduce your protein intake.

Note also that depleting your carbohydrate levels with long runs and sticking to a low-carb diet, and then carbo-loading closer to your race, can make your muscles very heavy – and so this is best avoided. Make sure you include enough carbohydrate in your diet throughout your training.

Medicines, Supplements and Drugs
Taking part in an endurance event is not the time to experiment with over the counter medication, supplements or recreational drugs. 

When and What to Eat Before a Workout

Appropriate eating for exercise
Are you wondering whether what you currently eat is appropriate for the type of exercise you do? Have you ever thought about what you eat before you exercise? Some people who exercise – no matter whether it is a gym session, running, tennis or other type of exercise – eat inappropriately. When and what to eat before a workout can be a mystery, therefore hope to dispel some of the myths and get you on the right track to eating appropriately for exercising.

The two fuels that the body uses during exercise are carbohydrate and fat; during high and moderate intensity exercise more carbohydrate is used. The body stores carbohydrate in small amounts in the liver and muscles, as glycogen; it is therefore important to make sure that the glycogen stores of the liver and muscles are optimal before exercise as they are depleted during training. The carbohydrate in your diet will provide some energy during exercise mainly from starchy snacks and sugary drinks that you take immediately before and during exercise.

The best advice is to eat a meal three to four hours before exercise and have a small snack just before, ideally between one and two hours before your workout. So, if you plan to go to the gym at 5.30pm, try to have a meal (lunch) at 1.30pm and then a snack at 4pm.

Meal ideas – foods suitable for three to fours hours before exercise:

  • A small jacket potato and baked beans or cottage cheese
  • Six crackers and cottage cheese followed by a piece of fruit
  • Porridge (made with semi-skimmed milk) with a banana and a teaspoon of sugar
  • Rice with vegetables and lean meat
  • Pasta and sauce (for example: low fat tomato and bacon sauce or Bolognese)
  • Two slices of toast, peanut butter and a banana
  • Two weetabix with semi-skimmed milk and a small glass of pure fruit juice
  • A small jacket potato with tuna and reduced fat mayonnaise and a fruit yogurt

Snack ideas – foods suitable for one to two hours before exercise:

  • One slice of toast and jam
  • One small flapjack
  • One slice of fruit cake
  • A piece of fruit
  • Two digestive biscuits
  • A fruit yogurt
  • A cereal bar
  • A small bowl of cereal and semi-skimmed milk
  • A scone