Because a 10k is a relatively short event in comparison to say a marathon, a lot of the nutrition emphasis is put on before and after the event.
The day before the event there are two areas that need to be considered:
Your hydration status is something that can’t be changed quickly, but something that can significantly affect your running performance. We would suggest sipping on an OTE Hydro Tab little and often in the day and hours leading up to the event. The hydro tabs provide electrolytes which will promote rehydration, meaning by the time you get to the start line, dehydration will be one thing you don’t have to worry about.
As little as 2% loss of body weight through dehydration can negatively affect your performance, so don’t let this be the thing that lets you down on the day.
When your pushing your body to its limits our body relies on carbohydrates as its dominant energy source. Our body can store a limited amount of carbohydrates, so it’s a good idea to make sure these stores are full when stepping on the start line. This doesn’t mean eating mounds more pasta than usual, but simply making sure carbohydrates make up 50-60% of each meal in the day before the event. We would also recommend tapering down your activity level. The combination of low level exercise and a good percentage of carbohydrates will ensure you replenish your energy stores, without necessarily eating more!
Most 10km event are scheduled for the morning, and as your pre event meal is pretty important; this may well mean an early start. Textbook would advise consuming a meal 3 hours before the event as this allows it to settle in the stomach. Something like a simple bowl of porridge with a banana and some honey would be a great slow release high carb option.
If timings don’t allow you to eat 3 hours out from the race, then the closer it gets to go time, reduce the amount that you eat.
Something like an OTE Duo Bar is a great option to eat one hour out from the race. It is designed to be light on the stomach but also provide you with 40g of all important carbohydrates.
Don’t forget about hydration during this time before the race! Sipping little and often is key.
The beauty of doing all the above correctly is that you should now be in the best possible situation to get through the 10k without needing to necessarily take on fuel. Our body can usually complete 90 minutes of moderate to intense exercise without needing to refuel. But the higher the intensity, the quicker you will burn up those carbohydrate stores.
For those aiming to complete a 10km in under 1 hour, fuelling during shouldn’t be necessary. For those pushing hard but taking a longer period of time, it may be worth considering taking an energy gel with you to consume at around 45 minutes.
For those really chasing that fast time, how about having a 100mg Caffeine Blackcurrant Energy Gel around 20 minutes before during your warm up. The benefit of caffeine before a start of a short sharp event like this is, that it lowers your feeling of perceived exertion (how hard you think you’re trying), meaning you can usually dig that little bit deeper! No wonder it’s likened to rocket fuel!
If you have fully emptied the tank then expect to be feeling a bit worse for wear at the end and the legs already starting to ache. It’s at this point recovery nutrition is most important. Try to consume something with in 30 minutes of finishing the ticks off the three R’s of Recovery.
This is where something like an OTE Recovery Drink comes into its own. It can tick off all of the above whilst feeling like a post event tasty treat. Just mix one sachet, or two heaped scoops with 300ml of water to make an easy to consume drink that will get you well on your way to optimal recovery.
Kick starting your recovery in this way will help reduce muscle soreness and get you back on your feet and ready to train again sooner.
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