Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Races (Including That Turkey Trot!)


This year marks the 35th year of the Dana Point Turkey Trot! Credit: Dana Point Turkey Trot

Anyone celebrating Thanksgiving with a good ol’ turkey trot today? (Believe us; it makes the turkey and mashed potatoes taste that much better!) In case you are—or have another run coming up—today we’re sharing five nutrition tips for runners. These were specifically designed by CLIF Bar for the Dana Point Turkey Trot runners in Orange County, but we think they’ll rock no matter what 5K or longer race you’re doing. Enjoy, and here’s to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Race Preparation

1. Caffeine. Typically given a bad rap, caffeine, taken in moderation, will actually help improve your performance on a run. Caffeine gives you the extra boost, keeps you clear of that “batteries are draining” feeling and helps you enjoy the activity. Moderation for most runners sits between two to three cups of drip coffee per day, but keep in mind that every body is different. Take the time to know your body—ask yourself, where do you feel best and what did you just put in your mouth that made you feel that way? Team CLIF Bar recommendation: CLIF Shot Energy Gel for an extra caffeine kick to maintain energy between breaths.

2. Stay hydrated. Hydration is the trickiest part of fueling running as every cell in your body thrives on fluid. Your hydration mantra: drink fluids early and often. Water is important, but a mistake is assuming you can get by on just H2O, especially when your run-time totals more than an hour. This is where electrolyte drinks come into play. When making your hydration selection, make sure your sports drink has sodium as the main mineral player—this will keep your body and emotional state at full efficiency.

3. Carb up. Carbohydrates should make up about two-thirds of each meal. Carbs are the most important source of fuel for your muscles and your brain. Pick and choose carbohydrates that are high in fiber, such as wheat bread, pasta, bran cereals, oatmeal, CLIF Bars, potatoes and popcorn.

4. Powerful protein. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild muscle. Approximately one-third of each meal should contain this powerful prop. To help counter the wear and tear of training and racing, rebuild with foods like grass-fed beef, antibiotic-and-hormone-free chicken, low-mercury fish, lentils, cheese, CLIF Builder’s Bar and soy.

5. Meal planning. Eat frequently and eat a variety of foods. Make sure you eat three meals each day and two or three healthy snacks in between. This will help prevent energy highs and lows throughout the day and make you more energized for training runs.

Are you doing a turkey trot today? Are you fueling properly? A big thanks to Dana Point Turkey Trot and CLIF Bar for the nutrition tips! Get more here. —Jenn


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