Last Thursday, I ran 17K and I didn’t even want to die and it was 100 percent amazing. This Thursday, I went out for a new, farther-than-ever distance of 19K, aaand… it felt like I was for sure dying and it was 100 percent The. Worst.
I tried so hard to repeat all the prep that worked so well for me last week. I went out the day before and bought some fresh berries and yogurt. I woke up early to warm up my legs. I slathered that Body Glide all over my potentially scarred swathes of thigh skin. I felt ready. But I forgot one major thing: I barely ate the day before.
We all have those days where we’re so busy there’s no time for lunch. That was me the day before my 19K, and I also played soccer that night, so a protein bar became my dinner. Oh, and NBD but there were heat warnings during both my soccer game and my run. So, yeah.
After 6K my legs were getting that heavy feeling. After 8, I was light headed. For the last 10K, it was constant muscle cramps, so I started taking one(ish) minute walk breaks for every 10 of running.
In the end, I got ’er done, but lord, it was not pretty. I tried to tell myself a sloppy finish is better than no finish—but I definitely want to come out stronger for next week’s 21K (which will be my first unofficial half distance!) So I called up Toronto-based holistic nutritionist Miranda Malisani for some input. She set me straight: “Food training is equally important to your running training.” So I’m learning (the hard way).
What to eat the night before? First off, Malisani stressed the importance of chugging water. “If you’re not well hydrated the day before, it can dramatically affect your performance.” As for food: “It’s not about adding calories, but about replacing them with carbs,” Malisani explains. “Aim to eat 60 to 70 percent carbs in the three days leading up to your race.” Sweet potatoes, medjool dates, beets, wild or brown rice and quinoa are some of her faves—though she warns against trying anything new right before your race in case your body doesn’t react well to it. I’ll be using my next few long runs to test this out (*slurps up a spaghetti noodle*).