Marathon season is nearly upon us, and while the 26.2-mile footrace is over 120 years old, long-distance races have been around since the ancient Egyptians. Thankfully, shoe advancements are akin to strapping rockets to your feet, and nutrition options have become way more forward-thinking. After all, superior race-day fuel yields speedier race times—it’s science.
“An athlete’s ability to ingest larger amounts of carbs while running at a high rate makes the difference between having an okay day and smashing it out of the park,” says Scott Tindal, performance nutrition coach and co-founder of FuelIn. Because running jostles your gut, it can wreak havoc on your GI system, which makes practicing and perfecting your race-day nutrition paramount—as does choosing clean, high-quality fuel.
“Aim to consume 60 and up to 120g carbs per hour when the session duration and intensity requires it (that’s three to four gels per hour), or a “feed” of some sort every 15 to 20 minutes of your race and training runs. “This amount depends on how fast you run, your ability to consume high amounts of fuel and your body’s ability to utilize the carbs.” We can’t say it’ll guarantee a personal best, but you’ll surely beat the bonk. Here’s the best race-day fuel to consume before, during, and after your race.
Tailwind Nutrition Recovery Mix
Consuming a recovery bev within 30 minutes post-race or training can mean the difference between feeling wrecked and rested. Mix this powder with water or any type of milk in a shaker bottle. If you want an athlete’s chocolate milk, go for the classic Chocolate flavor—or opt among Vanilla, Salted Caramel, and Coffee (caffeinated); all are creamy and craveable. Each has up to 11g complete protein (3x more than whey protein isolate per gram to better rebuild muscle), 43g carbs (to replenish glycogen stores) and 440mg sodium and electrolytes (to rehydrate).
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