My co-blogger Matt recently posted about what he likes to eat after a run (for the record, I think sweet potato pancakes from Ria’s Bluebird wipe the court with anything offered up by Waffle House, but that’s neither here nor there).
Honestly, give me a beer and a bagel after any race and I’m happy until I can get something more substantial in my food hole. What stresses me out is what to eat before a race, both the night before and the morning of. Most people swear by a meal almost entirely made up of carbs, which makes sense, but I’m always a little afraid of overdoing it, Michael Scott-style. Depending on the length of the run, I usually eat a small bowl of pasta or a tuna sandwich, and I try not to eat after 8 p.m. (mostly because I usually try not to go to sleep any later than 10 p.m. the night night before a run). And I obviously try to hydrate as much as possible.
I made the mistake of agreeing to go out for Indian food the night before my most recent half-marathon. Most of you probably have enough common sense to know this isn’t a good idea, but in case you are prone to lapses in judgment like yours truly, believe me when I tell you to step away from the samosas.
The morning of a run, I almost always have a banana and a piece of toast 9and more water). I know some people like to have coffee before runs, and normally I’d lay down my life for the love of sweet, sweet coffee, I can’t stomach it before a big run.
I think the primary lesson I’ve learned is that even if you eat “clean” before a race, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to run to your full potential the next day. I almost always (with the exception of the ill-advised Indian meal) eat the same thing, and I’ve had pretty varying degrees of success the next day. Which isn’t to say I don’t advocate eating properly before a run — I can’t imagine it hurts.
What’s your pre-race culinary ritual? Any recommendations for those of us looking to switch it up?