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What to Eat Before the Vancouver Sun Run (and your training runs too!)

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As many runners know, nutrition plays a critical role in your athletic performance; you just can’t out-train a bad diet! Optimizing your nutrition before the Vancouver Sun Run can prevent fatigue, help you run longer and more intensely, and make your runs feel easier. Consuming the right foods and beverages at the right times will provide you with the energy you need to run your best. TimingYour pre-run meal or snack can be eaten anywhere from 1 to 4 hours before you start running. Your meal or snack can be larger the longer you wait to exercise because you will have more time for digestion.The goal is to have just enough food to feel satisfied but not overfull when you begin your run. We recommend keeping pre-run meals and snacks high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat and fiber to improve digestibility, especially if you are eating close to your run time. Everyone’s digestive system responds differently so experiment during your training sessions to identify what works best for you for race day. Keeping a food journal can help track what you ate before successful runs and what might have caused discomfort.CarbohydratesCarbohydrates are our body’s preferred energy source, and they are especially important for brain and muscle cells. In fact, one of the leading causes of fatigue during runs is energy (carbohydrate) depletion. Including carbohydrates in your pre-run meal or snack is a great way to top up your energy stores. Examples of carbohydrates include grains (bread, rice, oats and pasta), fruit, and starchy vegetables (potato, corn, and sweet potato). To improve digestibility and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort when running, choose carbohydrates that are lower in fiber and fat, especially if you are eating shortly before your run. If you are eating longer before your run, you may find you can tolerate higher fiber carbohydrates. FluidNot surprisingly, the second major cause of fatigue during runs is dehydration. Dehydration is associated with a decrease in performance, muscle strength, and muscle endurance so proper hydration is essential for optimal running. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day leading up to your run. For most Sun Run participants, plain water is the best choice for hydration however coffee, tea, milk, milk alternatives and sports drinks also count towards your total fluid intake.Prioritize nourishing your body with foods that support your running goals. Enjoy training and trust your preparation when you approach the starting line of the Vancouver Sun Run. If you are looking for personalized nutrition support in preparation for the Vancouver Sun Run or any other upcoming athletic event, book a consult with one of the dietitians at Vancouver Dietitians. Best of luck and enjoy your run!

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