First of all, I must say, in discussing my racing routine I’m by no means saying what I do is right for everyone. I’m often asked what, when, and how I eat. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear what others are doing. So here is a little play by play of what I did for a small 5k I ran yesterday for those interested.
I had the pleasure of running the Crestview 5k in Westchester, Ohio. This small a race was a good opportunity to expose myself to the racing environment during my marathon training. Competition thoughout my marathon training helps me to be more race-ready. I become more comfortable with how to manage pre-race nerves, racing discomforts, surging, and that last finishing kick. I also have to apply race day nutrition strategy.
Race start was at 8:30 am. I set my alarm for 6:20 knowing I like to linger in bed a few minutes after the alarm sounds. By the time I got dressed and prepared breakfast for my two kids, I ended eating breakfast myself about 6:55. I ate two slices of raisin toast with a small spread of tub margarine and half of a large banana. This provided roughly 280 calories, 6 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbohydrate, and 6 grams of protein. I also drank about 20 ounces of water and 7 ounces of black coffee.
I prefer to feel comfortably light on the stomach, especially for a race like the 5k. A meal such as this seems to do the trick for me. On the way to the race I drank about 4-5 more ounces of water. I finally arrived at the race at about 7:50. I got my race packet, warmed-up, and drank about 4-5 more ounces of water.
After doing my pre-race strides, the gun went off just a little after 8:30. The morning was very nice with a temperature in the 60’s for the race start. I didn’t feel like I needed to take race fluids today with the pleasant conditions.
My finish was second place overall and first place female with a time of 17:27 for the 5k distance. Not a personal record, but a decent race overall.
After the race I immediately drank about 10 ounces of water. I would have preferred a sports beverage like Gatorade had it been available. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack my own. Within about 10 minutes I had my racing shoes changed back to my training shoes and began my cool down. I ran just over a 3 mile cool-down.
The race offered a nice assortment of post-race snacks like small donuts, cookies, bagel halves, bananas, and apples. It was a nice spread, but as I looked it over the first thought that came to mind is that there was very little protein there. Eating about 10-20 grams of protein with carbohydrates helps to recovery more effectively.
I finished my cool-down right at the post-race snack table. I enjoyed an apple, half a chocolate donut, half of a bagel and part of a protein bar I packed just in case I needed it. This provided roughly 50 grams of carbohydrate and 9 grams of protein. I fell a little short on protein. Unfortunately most of the protein-rich bar ended up going to my 1 1/2 year old begging son.
I could have done a little better with post-race nutrition, especially since I knew I was going into a 20 mile long run today. It can be a challenging at times to get things perfect under ever changing circumstances. The important thing to remember is that fueling up before the race tops off the gas tank and supports a strong finish. Fueling soon after racing makes us better prepared for future training and reduces the risk of soft tissue injury.