Whether it’s your first time running City2Surf or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s important to plan ahead and think about snacks that are easy to prepare, nutritious and convenient for race day.
There’s a lot of confusing and conflicting information out there, telling you to eat foods you’ve probably been avoiding (and for good reason) such as pasta, jelly beans, energy drinks and gels. Rest assured, you don’t need to radically change your diet and start eating starchy, sugary foods to nail your race goals.
With only a couple of days to go until this year’s City2Surf, we’ve recruited Nutritionist, Ultra-Marathon Runner and co-founder of Chief Nutrition, Veronika Larisova to give us her top 6 snacks to help you fuel those 14k’s!
Ok, so not technically a snack but a great breakfast option. The race starts pretty early so it’s a good idea to prep a quick breakfast the night before…remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail! This recipe is packed with protein, fibre, antioxidants and slow-release carbs to keep you fueled throughout the course and includes chia seeds to help keep your body hydrated. Remember to eat 90 mins to 2 hours before the race to give yourself enough time to digest the food and avoid a stich situation!
Combine the oats, chia, milk and cinnamon/vanilla in a bowl or jar, give it a mix and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, simply top with the berries and nuts/seeds and enjoy!
Bananas contain both potassium and magnesium, essential minerals which we lose through sweat when running. Think of the humble banana as a natural energy-gel alternative as they are nutrient dense, without any nasty added chemicals or preservatives. The combination of carbs (from the banana) and healthy fats (from the nut butter) will help to keep hunger at bay, giving you enough energy to push on up Heartbreak Hill (clue’s in the name, it’s not easy!) Peanut butter works a treat and if you fancy mixing it up, try Food To Nourish ABC spread which contains organic activated almonds, brazil nuts and cashews!
Specifically designed for runners, by runners, Chief’s Collagen Bar is the perfect pre-run snack! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and highly beneficial for runners because it helps to repair and protect muscles and joints. The healthy fats from the nuts will also help to sustain you over the course of the race. Collagen is hailed for its gut-healing properties so this bar is easily digested and doesn’t contain dates so is actually low in sugar. Plus, it comes in two delicious flavours: Cashew Shortbread and Hazelnut Brownie.
The starchy carbs in the rice cakes and healthy fats in the avocado will give you both immediate and sustained energy (noticing a trend here)?! Not an avo fan? Try nut butter and a little banana instead. Be sure to check the ingredient list on the rice cakes, opt for brown rice and minimal ingredients if you can.
Coconut water is one of the best natural hydrators, containing electrolytes that will help you feel amazing pre-race, or help you recover afterwards. You can even turn this into a great pre-race snack by adding a scoop of a tummy-friendly protein powder (I love the plant-based protein powder from BUF). Try Raw C’s coconut water, one of the lowest sugar options on the market.
Opinions on having a coffee pre-run are mixed but, if it agrees with you, caffeine is actually the best ‘supplement’ you can have! Caffeine is the only ingredient that usually works to enhance performance, so instead of a ‘pre-workout’, try coffee with drop of milk instead. You could also try Byron Beverage Co’s Black Nitro Coffee. The nitrogen keeps you sustained for a longer period of time, but of course if you have a tummy that’s sensitive to caffeine, you don’t want to risk it on race day!
A final word on ‘carb-loading’… unless you’re running an event longer than 2 hours you don’t actually need to ‘carb load’. The best thing you can do is maintain a balanced, healthy diet full of fresh high-quality produce. This doesn’t mean avoiding carbs entirely! You need carbs to fuel your run, and they’re especially important on race day, but don’t go overboard, or eat significantly more than usual. A good breakfast and any of the above snacks should be all you need!