Ryan Hall has pivoted to strength training since retiring from pro running in 2016, but is still the fastest American runner of all time who holds the best time in the country in the full and half marathon. Hall, whose wife Sara is also a formidable competitive runner, frequently shares the benefit of his own running experiences and insights on social media, recently offering his best training tips for the day before a big race.
In a new Instagram post, Hall turns his attention to nutrition; specifically what and when to eat before a race, and what to avoid.
While a high-fiber diet is pretty normal for a runner, Hall points out that fiber can take more time and energy for the body to digest. As the last thing you want on a race day is a “bouncy gut,” his first tip is to keep it simple. “I always avoid high fiber carbs and veggies the day before and day of a race,” he says.
Secondly, Hal recommends eating lots of small meals, rather than one big plate of carbs. “Eating enough the day before a race can be tough (especially if one is nervous) so lots of small meals is often easier to get down and the carbs are more likely to be stored in the liver and muscles rather than being stored as fat when taken in more slowly,” he says.
He also advises avoiding simple sugars when selecting your electrolyte drinks, and focusing on protein sources that are easy for your body to digest, like natural yogurt and egg whites.
A post shared by Ryan Hall (@ryanhall3)
“Stay away from buffets,” he adds. “Who knows how long that food has been sitting out on the warmer. Not worth the risk of getting sick after months of hard training.” And finally, he suggests keeping your meals relatively low in fat for the 24 hours leading up to the race. “This will sit better in the stomach,” he says, “and keep from feeling gross on the start line.”
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