I have been getting a lot of questions about food and running. Food before running, food after running, food for running, running for food etc. I’ll be brainstorming over the holiday some ways to effectively relay that info but for now I want to share with you my before and after race food from this past weekend! Remember I was going to Downtown Dining with some friends?
Saturday night I ventured from my typical pre-race meal of pizza or oatmeal to take advantage of Memphis’ Downtown Dining week. We chose Itta Bena, a sleek and cozy place hidden above B.B. King’s on Beale Street. The interior was dark with blue tinted windows, lots of dark wood decor and blues music in the background (appropriate enough).
I was joined by five of my friends from college for a-little-bit-fancier-than-usual dinner.
The way Downtown Dining works reminds me of set menus that were pretty popular when I was in Europe for studies a few years ago. There’s a set price ($20.11) and your options are pretty limited for the three courses.
For my first course I chose the wedge salad with the dressing on the side. Don’t want too much creaminess the night before a big race!
My second course was the bone-in pork chop with sweet potatoes. I LOVED the sweet potatoes and ate them all. I only ate about half the chop – don’t want to be too full either.
The final course was the best. A gooey, warm, chocolatey brownie! Going into the dinner I had planned to let myself have one taste but it was so delicious I had to spring for two big spoonfuls! Sunday morning I sure was glad I didn’t eat the entire monster!
You can bet your life if I had eaten that entire block of chocolate I wouldn’t have run as well the next day. Reflecting on deviating from my norm the night before a big race, I am glad I joined my friends for a night on the town and enjoyed some fancier food. Because I was smart about the choices I made – both in what I chose to order and how much I chose to eat, my performance was not affected too much.
Day of Race
Sunday morning I woke up and prepared a tea with almond milk, drank a glass of water and grabbed a banana and 2 Gu packs. I ate the banana right before the race. I like bananas for before a run of 5 miles or more because they’re not too heavy and they have plenty of quick energy for my muscles. Plus, they taste delicious! An apple would work too.
During my run, I ate two Gu Packs. Gu is essentially pure carbs and sugar – normally not recommended. But when you’re in the middle of Tennessee country and need some quick energy, it’s a perfect solution. I had one at mile 6 and another at mile 9. I’ll probably try to sneak one more in somewhere for St. Jude to see if that helps the fatigue I felt in my legs at the end of the race.
Immediately after a long run (say 60 minutes +), I like to eat some carbs and protein together. The Road Race Series post-race food isn’t that great for you (although I put a few cookies in me after the race 🙂 ) so I ventured off to Starbucks for an oatmeal. For the protein, I added a packet of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter.
It was the perfect combination of warmth and deliciousness which is exactly what this exhausted, soaking wet and cold racer needed!
What do you like to do for running food?