Cape Town is buzzing with activity this week; many of you are getting ready for Easter and the long weekend, and we have lots of visitors from all over the globe who are joining many locals to run the most beautiful marathon in the world – The Two Oceans!
Even though we’ll be watching from the sidelines this year, our team loves running; our founder Adri is currently training to run her first half-marathon in a few months, and with her knowledge of Nutrition (she graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Nutrition with a focus on Sports Nutrition from CNELM in 2014), we wanted to share some basic tips on the Nutrition of Running.
Fueling before your Run
It is important to top up glycogen stores and hydrate the morning of your race! Try to fit in a good meal two to three hours before the event in order to give your body time to digest.
Low-GI carbohydrates are good a few hours before your race – you want your body to release the energy slowly in the hours leading up to your run, but be careful of too much fibre pre-run! Depending on how early you get up, and how much time you have pre-run, porridge or oats with Almond Creamery Chai or Vanilla Almond Milk will be a perfect start to the morning and fuel you up for the long run ahead. If you can’t get up 3 hours before your run or you can’t handle too much fibre pre-run, then a banana and/or a slice of toast with a Frappucino or Chocolate Almond Creamery Almond Milk is also a good option and will keep you going for at least the first few kilometers!
If you don’t do well with early morning meals, or if you are prone to pre-race jitters, have one of our flavoured Almond Milks (choose between our yummy flavours of Chai, Chocolate, Vanilla or Frappucino), a smoothie made with Almond Creamery Classic Almond Milk and fibre-free fruit like bananas, or a sports drink that contains both carbohydrates and electrolytes, are all good options.
It’s very important not to try anything new in the days leading up to, and especially the morning of, your race though, so keep to what you know!
Recovering after your Run
Post-marathon recovery is just as important as everything you do leading up to the big day. Running a marathon puts stress on the body, so you want to make sure that your recovery nutrition gives your body everything it needs to refuel, restore and repair.
There are three intentions behind your recovery process: you need to refuel your glycogen stores, restore fluid and electrolytes lost in sweat, and provide nutrients to repair muscle damage.
Refueling Glycogen: In order to refuel glycogen stores fast-acting, carbohydrate-dense foods should be eaten after your run. Studies show that after intense exercise, there is a 30 – 45-minute window in which an athlete’s muscles are at a peak glycogen-rebuilding phase. It is therefore important to eat the correct foods within this time-frame to ensure less stiffness and soreness in the days following your run. These foods can include: Almond Creamery Chocolate Almond Milk, bananas, raisins, granola, energy bars, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta (we suggest a gluten-free option where necessary and available). Many sports drinks will also do the job.
Restoring Electrolytes: Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are necessary for your digestive, cardiac, muscular and nervous systems to function optimally. Electrolytes are important for runners as electrolytes are easily depleted during long runs, and an imbalance may lead to muscle fatigue, cramping and stitches if they are not replenished during and after exercise.
When you run, electrolytes are lost through your sweat, especially sodium and potassium. Thankfully, not only does our Almond Creamery Almond Milk contain good amounts of electrolytes including potassium, we’ve added Himalayan salt to assist with sodium (& other electrolyte) balance post-run too. Read here for more information on the amazing benefits of Himalayan Salt and how it contain a large amount of important electrolytes.
Repair Muscles: Protein is the building block of muscle and should be consumed post-run to assist your body to effectively repair the muscles that have been put under strain and broken down during a strenuous exercise session. Foods high in protein include the obvious meat, fish and dairy, but if you are avoiding these foods, a dairy-free protein bar, protein shake or a smoothie with added protein is perfect. Our Almond Creamery Almond Milk is also a great dairy-free option post-run and contains between 2 and 4 grams of protein per bottle. Keep a look out for our much anticipated protein range that will be hitting the shelves soon!
We wish everyone running both the trail and/or road Two Oceans this weekend (whether it be the Ultra Marathon, the 5km Fun Run, or the Nappy Dash (yes, can you believe they have a 56meter Nappy Dash!!)), the best of luck! We’re sure you will enjoy the beauty that Cape Town has to offer and have an amazing time!
P.S. We’d love to see your pictures before, during, or after your run! Feel free to post them on our Facebook wall, or tag us on your Instagram posts @AlmondCreamery so we can cheer you on!
Adri Geyser, PGDip Nutrition (CNELM) &
Nicole O’Neill, Nutrition Student (CNH)