What should someone eat the night before a track session, is carb loading a thing and why?
Carb Loading is a thing, but it’s more relevant to race performance and peaking for an event than your weekly track session. Indeed, if you’re doing a long run/training on the Sunday before Onetrack, you should make sure you get some carbohydrates into your diet post-training. Also on the Monday before track (breakfast or lunch) to ensure you have topped up any lost glycogen from your weekend training.
What should someone eat the day of the track session, and why?
Having some carbohydrates in your diet before a track session will likely be beneficial to your performance on the track. Be mindful of how your body reacts to food close to working out. Some people can eat and run; others suffer from gastrointestinal distress and need to leave longer. A quick banana with some peanut butter is my go-to if I don’t have time to manage a meal before track. It’s a long way from lunchtime to eating dinner after track, so think about quick fixes.
As a guideline to carbohydrate intake during exercise, you can’t go far wrong with the evidence outlined below. A carbohydrate drink can be an effective way to boost your performance on track if you know your energy intake hasn’t been high throughout the day. As you look to go longer, it’s time to think about sweets, gels and energy drinks to improve your performance.
Is there anything you should eat or drink just before that will boost performance?
This is a great chance to jump into supplements. There are 2 which I would recommend before a track session.
Caffeine is perhaps one of the most researched performance-enhancing supplements in the world. It has been shown to reduce the rate of perceived exertion, particularly towards the latter stages of exercise. It can also reduce time to exhaustion (so think about training with caffeine gels if you’re going to tackle the half marathon)
For Onetrack – have a black coffee or espresso 30-45 minutes before your session.
While it’s not the tastiest of supplements, a Beet-It Shot gets the process over with quickly. Increased dietary nitrate can improve exercise tolerance during intense work rates and improve oxygen cost in healthy individuals. I would typically load nitrate over a taper week with a morning shot from the Monday before race day.
Justin Reid-Simms is a Certified Nutritionist, Onetrack Running Coach & Personal Trainer. Want to work with Justin? Enquire and book a consultation here