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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eating Plan for running a 24 hour relay

"The timetable will be something like:

Wake up: around 1.30am Saturday, on the road at 2.15am

First run of 10.4km: 4:30am

Second run of 5.4km: 11.15am

Third run of 5km: 2:50pm

I would appreciate some guidance of what I should eat on Friday night in order to have good energy levels when getting up at 1:30 and running at 4:30am, and then what to eat and when to aid recovery after each run.

I will be in the van all day so am limited with food preparation!"
Gary advises
On the Friday night, I assume you are traveling to the venue which is in Taranaki, so you might be limited in the food choices by your team and food availability.

You could drop by a supermarket and do your shopping.  I would not be too worried about food choices other than to advice to avoid gas forming foods and ones that might upset the digestion like lots of cabbage, onions, preserved, pickled and spiced food.  Pretty much anything else goes; but I personally prefer a pizza that is not drowned in sauces or a feed of fish and chips that are not dripping grease.  You want plenty of calories without a distended or gassy bowel at 4am.  Drink normally.

This all assumes that you have eaten well leading up to the penultimate day and that you have trained well and done plenty of practice races - all based on the Lydiard Method of course!

Within half an hour of the gun going it may be an idea to have shot of caffeine with a teaspoon of sugar like honey; but be sure it is in a form that you know you can handle without upset.  At 4am blood sugar levels are low, so an artificial boost will be helpful. This assumes you are not a caffeine addict - Please read my articles here about caffeine.

Do only a brief warm up, keep warm and use the first 10 or so minutes of the race to warm into the event.

Immediately after the race (within 30 minutes) have a cut down Super Smoothie.  Have the powder ready made and make up with water using a decanter.  Drink as much as you are comfortable with and no more.  Sip some water as required to rehydrate.

Have breakfast at the same time of day you would normally but avoid hard to digest foods - Fatty sausages and fried eggs with onions are obvious ones to avoid.  You could include a small cut down smoothie with breakfast as well.

Try as best you can to keep the legs elevated rather than hanging down and get out of the car often, walk about and stretch gently.

Have another small cut down smoothie about 1.5 hours before your next run and that's about it other than a little water here and there.

Within 30 minutes of finishing your next run have another cut down smoothie.  Sip water as required.  You could have a sugary snack about an hour before the last leg of the race.

Have another smoothie after the final run if you can stomach it!  It will help with recovery, reducing post event soreness and fatigue.  Get back to normal eating within an hour or so, including snacks of fruit, dried fruit and nuts.

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