Proper nutrition is essential for good sports performance. Just as you plan your training and adapt it to events such as the days leading up to a race. Planning and adapting your diet to your sport is essential to achieving your body’s full potential.
Make nutrition your priority to take care of your body: we explain how to prepare your body with good nutrition and recommend what you can eat before a race.
What to eat before a race
The dinner before a race is particularly important, especially if it is a long race, such as a marathon. In the following section, we also explain how to plan your meals a week before and in the days leading up to the race.
And there are a few things to remember:
- Choose simple products that you have eaten before, it is better not to try new foods.
- Include carbohydrates to maintain adequate muscle glycogen levels. Again, we stress that the type of race determines the diet. For a race of fewer than 90 minutes, such as a 5K or 10K, you do not need to overload on carbohydrates.
- Add protein such as chicken, turkey, or easily digestible white fish. Athletes, especially long-distance runners, need to consume more protein than someone who does not train regularly. Protein is not only low in fat, but it is also essential for muscle recovery. It is also very important for strengthening the immune system.
- Don’t eat fatty products that may make your digestion heavy, such as processed or ultra-processed foods.
- Beware of too much fiber. You can eat salad or fruit.
- Drink enough but not too much fluid to ensure a good night’s sleep. For your health and as an athlete, you must always stay well hydrated, not only the day before the race but also the days before and in general every day.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, or soft drinks, which can destabilize bowel function.
Here are some ideas for appropriate pre-race menus:
- a pasta dish with a light Bolognese sauce or vegetables
- a dish of rice with some grilled meat or fish
You should eat to your heart’s content but not to excess.
Dinner is not the only meal that counts when preparing for a race, don’t forget that what you eat the days before is also important. We’ll tell you more about this later.
The importance of nutrition in achieving your sporting goals
As a sportsperson, you probably eat a healthy and balanced diet all year round. However, to build up a good energy reserve and ensure that your body performs as well as possible on race day, you need to prepare yourself nutritionally a few days beforehand, which we explain below in chronological order:
- One week before the race. Protein will be the main ingredient in your meals: lean meats (chicken, turkey), eggs, and fish to provide nutrients to the muscles. Eat foods rich in carbohydrates and fats, and fruit or yogurt for dessert.
- Two days before the race you need to focus more on carbohydrates to build up good muscle glycogen stores. Glycogen is the body’s way of storing glucose from carbohydrates for energy. During these two days, carbohydrates will be the main ingredient on your plate, but proteins and vegetables should not be left out. For breakfast, eat cereals or bread with a little protein and semi-skimmed dairy products to avoid consuming too much fat, and for dessert eat some carbohydrate-rich fruit.
Here are the most recommended foods:
- Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or rabbit.
- Pasta, rice, cereals, potatoes.
- Pulses. They are an excellent main course because they provide carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Accompany them with some vegetables.
- Oily fish.
- Nuts. Eat a handful of walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts every day.
- Semi-skimmed milk products.
- Fruit. Citrus fruits are an excellent choice because of their vitamin C content. This vitamin is involved in the synthesis of collagen and carnitine, an amino acid that transports fats into the cells where they are used as fuel. On the two days before the race, carbohydrate-rich fruits such as bananas or melon are also good.
Good sports nutrition for better results
The way you eat is fundamental to staying healthy. Following a balanced diet provides the right amount of nutrients to meet your body’s needs depending on your age, gender, and activity.
As an athlete, you have specific dietary needs to maintain your performance, recover from training or competition and prevent injury.
Certain factors influence the body and sometimes prevent our diet from covering all nutritional needs:
- Sometimes our diet is not as balanced or complete as we think. In this case, we can consult a nutritionist.
- The quality of the food. The use of pesticides and other chemicals or harvesting before the optimal time prevents them from containing the same amount of vitamins and nutrients as those harvested at the optimal time by a local producer.
- Individual circumstances. After a cold, an injury, or a stressful situation, the body may need to be supplemented.
Nutritional supplements help you get the right levels of vitamins and minerals you need to perform at your best. For example, B vitamins such as B7 or biotin and B5 or pantothenic acid are essential for carbohydrate metabolism and energy production.
In the case of minerals, a large proportion of them are eliminated through perspiration and must be replenished to avoid oxidative stress and the accumulation of free radicals. One of the most necessary minerals is silica as it is essential for the assimilation of other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, for the synthesis of vitamin D, and the regeneration of elastin and collagen fibers.
It is difficult to assimilate the necessary silica through food because most of it is lost during cooking. However, you can get enough through a food supplement, such as Orgono Sports Recovery Supplement, formulated with organic silica and glycine. These two components strengthen the tissues and combat wear and tear on the joints:
- Organic silica gives consistency and elasticity to joint tissues, which is very important for athletes who tend to have more wear and tear on their joints.
- Glycine is an essential amino acid that occurs naturally but in minimal quantities. The body is therefore always very sensitive to an additional supply, as a deficiency can make bones, tendons, and cartilage more fragile. Glycine is also essential in the process of synthesizing creatine, an amino acid that is involved in strength gain and muscle recovery.
If you wish, you can also opt for the Orgono Articomplex multimineral complex which contains patented silica powder as well as trace elements, minerals, and vitamin C to improve muscle function, reduce fatigue and strengthen the immune system.
All these preparations help your body to recover from training and be ready on race day.
Muscle recovery is also important, so in addition to your post-workout exercises, such as stretching, we recommend the use of a cold gel. Orgono Sports Recovery cream helps to oxygenate and relax joints and muscles after exercise, improving circulation and preventing muscle overload.
Nutrition is essential
Eating properly before a race is essential to ensure that your body does not weaken during the race.
It is also important not to neglect your diet after the race to help your body recover optimally.
Eating properly and taking care of your body to avoid injury are the essential pillars of a lifetime of sport.