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What To Eat While Training

Building a healthy exercise habit is not just about learning good technique and buying a pair of well-fitting sneakers. What you eat and drink will have a big impact on the efficiency of your training sessions, your recovery and your ability to perform to your potential in any races or fun runs you enter. As we draw closer and closer to Bridge to Brisbane Day, find out what to eat while training, and how to prep for and recover from race day.

The building blocks

When deciding what to eat while training, the best place to start is with your everyday eating and drinking habits. Grabbing a healthy snack pre-run won’t make a huge difference if the rest of your diet is made up of junk, or you’re skipping food altogether.

Try to get into a pattern with your eating that includes three meals a day and may be supplemented by some healthy snacks. The five building blocks of food will give you an idea of the different food groups and how much of everything you should be eating each day. The Healthier. Happier. recipe collections are a great place to look for healthy meal and snack ideas.

Carbohydrates are a very important part of a runner’s diet. Think about carbohydrates like the petrol needed to fuel a car. Without fuel, a car won’t run, and without carbs, you won’t run well, either.

Carbohydrates provide the fuel your body requires to support your day-to-day activities. If you don’t eat enough carbs, you might feel fatigued and unable to train effectively.

Good quality carbohydrates can be found in foods like:

  • Wholegrain, light rye or sourdough bread
  • Fruit
  • Untoasted muesli
  • Oats
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Basmati rice
  • Legumes.

Eating carbohydrates before you train will help fuel your exercise. Then, eating more after you run will help your body refuel, replacing the energy you’ve used while exercising.

Before you train

Everyone feels differently about eating before a workout: some don’t mind it, while others don’t like to have much in their belly before hitting the track. Even if you don’t like to eat before you run, having something small will give you energy to move to the best of your ability.

A pre-run snack could be:

  • One or two slices of wholegrain toast or raisin toast
  • A couple of fresh or dried dates
  • A small bowl of cereal with chopped fruit and yoghurt
  • Or a piece of fresh fruit.

If you’re exercising later in the day, try having something larger to eat an hour or two before your training session. Try 150 grams of plain yoghurt and untoasted muesli or a wholegrain muesli bar with nuts or fruit.

After training

After a workout, there are three important things your body needs:

Protein

Protein will assist with muscle repair and growth. Aim to have 20-30grams of protein in the hour post-exercise, which you could get from 100-150 grams of lean meat or fish, three eggs, 150-180 grams of plain yoghurt, or a fruit-based smoothie.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates help with both refuelling your body and supporting the muscle repair process. A fruit smoothie, muesli and yoghurt, oats with milk, lean meat and rice or pasta and veggies are all great options to help replenish your energy reserves.

If you feel tired, lethargic or hungry within an hour after you’ve finished training, it’s a sign that you haven’t eaten enough carbs – so eat a little more!

Fluids

We might be talking about what to eat while training, but it’s important to remember that it’s not just about food – rehydrating before and after you run is a really important part of keeping you healthy and helping you perform your best when you run. Not rehydrating properly can actually decrease your performance by up to 60 per cent, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water both before and after you run.

For a particularly long training session over a couple of hours, or on race day, you can check how much you need to drink by weighing yourself before and after the event. Whatever weight you’ve lost during the run, you need to drink that much fluid plus 50 per cent more to effectively rehydrate. For example, if you are one kilogram lighter after your run, you need to drink one and a half litres of water.

On race day

Your diet shouldn’t change too much between training and racing. With practice, you’ll learn what feels best in your body before and after you run, and can mimic this on the day of the race.

Pre-race

The night before Bridge to Brisbane Day, eat a dinner that’s a little higher in carbohydrates to make sure your energy stores are full. Potato, rice or pasta are great options for a pre-race dinner, or have a lighter meal of yoghurt and fruit with oats.

Remember that good quality carbs will keep your energy levels stable, rather than the low quality carbs such as highly processed, sugary foods like lollies, chocolate or ice cream.

On the day of the race, eat as you have been during training. If you’re not a big pre-run eater, or your race is very early in the morning, plan to have something small that will give you an energy boost. Don’t forget to have plenty of fluids before you run!

Post-race

Even though it might be tempting to fill up on junk food as a reward after your run, sticking to non-food rewards (like getting a massage, or going to the movies) is a much better way to celebrate your achievement.

Try to eat a meal with plenty of protein and carbohydrates, like you have during training, within an hour of crossing the finish line. Make sure you consume plenty of fluids as well, to ensure you are properly rehydrated.

If you have to wait longer than an hour between finishing the race and getting a meal, have a simple snack like a wholegrain muesli bar or piece of fruit to tide you over until you can eat something more substantial.

Once the races are over, why not reward yourself by spending a beautiful day in South Bank? Relax in the Finish Village with family and friends, or give your body the fuel it needs with a meal from one of your favourite South Bank cafes and restaurants. Many South Bank retailers have exclusive deals for Bridge to Brisbane Day participants – all you have to do is show your race bib.

 

This blog was contributed by our friends at Healthier. Happier.

Got any other suggestions on what to eat while training? Let us know in the comments below. 

Yet to enter Bridge to Brisbane Day? It’s not too late – but hurry, last year’s event SOLD OUT! Get your runners on and enter NOW. 

Don’t forget to share your training snaps by using the hashtags #bridge2brisbane and #BestTimeBNE!

 

How to get organised for The Sunday Mail Bridge to Brisbane Day

Whether you’re training for The Sunday Mail Bridge to Brisbane Day for the first time, or you’re a fun-run veteran, planning will be essential in making sure you reach the finish line feeling healthy and happy. In the lead-up to the big day, it’s important to get organised by outlining your goals for the run, setting a training routine, and considering what food you need to fuel your body.

Goal setting for success

Everyone takes part in an event like Bridge to Brisbane Day for their own reasons. Some want to beat last year’s PB, others want to improve their fitness, and most are keen to raise some money for a good cause. Thinking S.M.A.R.T can help you set healthy goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

The first key to goal setting is specificity – the more specific you are about what you want to achieve, the clearer you can be about what you need to do to get there. For example, you might set your goal this year to run the entire 5km course without stopping or walking.

Then, you want to make sure your goal is measurable. A goal like “run further” doesn’t give you a measurable outcome to tick off your list, whereas you’ll know you’ve achieved your goal of running 5km when you cross the finish line. You might break this goal down into smaller measurements, starting off aiming to run 2km by the end of the month, then build up your mini-goals over time.

Goals need to be achievable to be motivating. If you know deep down that you won’t be able to reach your goal, you won’t push yourself to get there. Think carefully when setting your goals and timelines, making sure you’re not setting yourself up for failure.

At the same time, be realistic about your goals. Take into account your current circumstances and whether you’re set up for success. If you’re going to need to train for an hour every day to build up to running 5km, but you’ve only got weekends spare, you might need to rethink how realistic your goal is.

Finally, every goal needs to have a timeline for when you plan to achieve it. Bridge to Brisbane Day is great for this, because once you’ve registered, you know that 27 August is the day!

Getting ready to run

Training is an important part of running in an event like Bridge to Brisbane Day. If you’re on the couch one day and running 10km the next, you might find yourself injury prone and not quite as fit as you thought.

The Healthier. Happier. 8 week training guide is designed to prepare both first timers and experienced walkers/runners for Bridge to Brisbane Day. There are three suggested training sessions each week (although you can swap or add sessions if you’re feeling up to it), with distances gradually increasing to help you complete your chosen course comfortably.

Remember that your training should include more than just distance running: stretching, strength training and cardio can all improve your running time and technique.

If you have any health concerns or injuries, seek advice from an appropriately qualified professional such as a GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Food and drink to fuel your run

While physical training is important in the lead up to Bridge to Brisbane Day, the fuel you put in your body will also have an effect on how well you perform on the day.

Meal planning can help you eat healthier, shop smarter and curb bad eating habits. When you’re ramping up your exercise routine, it’s important to think ahead about what you’re going to eat and when, so that you’re giving your body enough energy to sustain your training. Having plenty of healthy food in the fridge and pantry can also stop you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you get peckish after a run.

This Weekly Meal & Exercise Planner template can help you plan what you’ll be eating each week and when you’ll be strapping on your runners, with reminders about your weekly movement and nutrition goals.

Hydration is really important when you exercise, especially in Brisbane’s warm climate. You need to drink more water when you’re exercising to make up for water lost through sweat and exhalation. Plain water is optimal for re-hydrating after a workout: you don’t need sports drinks unless you’ve been doing over 60 minutes of hard exercise.

Being organised is essential!

With good planning and motivating goals, you’ll be set to have an incredible Bridge to Brisbane Day, and keep up your healthy lifestyle after you’ve crossed the finish line.

How are you preparing for Bridge to Brisbane Day? Let us know in the comments below or share your snaps with us using the hashtag #bridge2brisbane!  

Don’t forget to check out the Healthier. Happier. Training Guide in The Sunday Mail each week in the lead-up to race day.

Have you registered for Bridge to Brisbane Day 2017? Last year sold out, so enter NOW to ensure you are one of thousands of people pounding the pavement on August 27. Get your runners on!