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Perfect Day: What to Eat Pre-Race Day

Photo by MYUNIONHOUSE Photography

The day before a marathon or half marathon, focus on your hydration and taking in enough carbohydrates to saturate glycogen stores, says Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, a sports dietitian and marathoner. “You don’t want to make too many changes to your diet,” says Scritchfield, so try out this meal plan a few times before a long run to gauge how your body responds.

Breakfast

11/2 cups oatmeal mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. pistachios, 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup and 1/2 cup blueberries
1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 Tbsp. almond butter
2 cups green tea

You’ll need the carbs from oatmeal, toast, maple syrup and berries for your big day tomorrow.

Morning Snack

1 banana

Bananas “provides potassium, which is an important electrolyte for muscle contractions,” says Scritchfield.

Lunch

Grain salad: 2 cups quinoa tossed with 1/2 cup black beans, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 cup cucumber, 1 cup red bell pepper, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil and 1/4 tsp. sea salt

In a study, marathoners who ate at least 3.2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight the day before the race finished faster. This hearty lunch will help get you there.

Afternoon Snack

1 cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt mixed with 1 Tbsp. honey and 1 cup sliced strawberries.

A powerful mix of protein and energy-boosting carbohydrates.

Dinner

4 ounces chicken breast
1 sweet potato
2 cups roasted beets
2 cups water

Studies show the nitrates in beets help your blood vessels dilate, increasing oxygen delivery to working muscles. “Be sure to wash dinner down with water for hydration!” adds Scritchfield.

Nighttime Snack

1 ounce dark chocolate

Here is some sweet news: Recent research suggests that antioxidants in dark chocolate can bolster exercise stamina.

Daily Total: 2259 calories, 96g protein, 59g fat, 356g carbohydrates

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