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Daniel Plan - FAQs

Nutrition for a "Long-Distance" Run/Walk


By Tina Pretsch

Knowing about proper nutrition and hydration is very important when training for a long-distance run or walk. It can make or break a workout or race. What we eat beforehand can have a significant effect on our overall performance. Eating a well-balanced diet is important and should include: carbohydrates, with a little bit of protein, fat and minerals. Remember, carbs = energy.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

How should my nutrition change in preparation for a long-distance race?

Stay on The Daniel Plan. Make smart choices for example: Eliminate white sugars and white flour, incorporate good fats (avocado, nuts, coconut oil), drink purified water, lean proteins, lots of vegetables and fiber which is what fills you up.

Should I carb-load the night before the race?

If you're running a 5K or 10K, there's no need to carb-load the night before. Although it may seem like a long distance, this is considered a short distance compared to marathons and ultra-marathons that are 26-50 miles or more. So you don't need to consume extra calories/carbs the night before the race. Chances are you already have enough stored energy in your body.

What should I eat before a race?

First off, you should definitely eat a little something about 1 ½ hours before the race. You never want to run a race on an empty stomach or feel starved. Food high in carbs, and low in protein, fat and fiber are best. Try an energy bar, a banana or one piece of whole grain toast with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.

Hydration: Before, during and after the race?

Staying hydrated is important to your performance and also in preventing over-heating.

Before: make sure you drink plenty of water starting a few days before the race. About an hour before the race, try to drink at least 16 ounces of water. You may also want to drink, slurp or eat some chia gel, which helps hydrate you throughout the workout.

During: The rule of thumb is that you should drink approximately 4-6 ounces of water every 20 minutes during the run.

After: It's important to hydrate on plenty of water and/or sports drinks after your run. You should drink a minimum of 20 fluid ounces. If your urine is dark yellow in color after the race, be sure to keep drinking. It should be pale yellow. Sports drinks, such as Gatorade (not Daniel Plan approved), or even coconut water, contain electrolytes (sodium and potassium) which can help your body recover from the exertion. When running, your body loses electrolytes through sweat. It's best to have a sports drink at least 60 minutes after your run to replace the electrolytes you've lost. This may also help with preventing muscle cramps.