Preparing For an Endurance Event

7 pm Evening meal the night before

Homemade vegetable pizza: take one base and spread with a small jar of pizza sauce topping, add a small can of tuna, add lots of chopped up vegetables – half a pepper chopped into strips, 3 sliced mushrooms, 3 slices of onions pulled apart into rings, a few olives and capers and top with 3 tbsp. of half fat grated mozzarella Small tub of potato and spring onion salad in a low fat dressing, served on a bed of watercress Bowl of mango sorbet with chopped mango pieces.

Energy (kcal) Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat (g)
993 60.6 169.1 12.5

The night before the race, aim for a carbohydrate rich meal to boost glycogen stores in the muscles and the liver as much as possible. Glycogen will be your main fuel used when you are running/cycling. A mix of fast- and slow-acting carbohydrates will ensure levels are topped up throughout the evening. The pizza base and sorbet are both fast-acting, the potato salad is slow-acting.

Hard exercise can weaken the immune system and cause damage to tissues by the increased production of free radicals, the peppers and mango are a good source of beta-carotene, which helps prevent damage and boosts the immune system

Watercress is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Potassium levels should be topped up before running to prevent excessive losses caused by sweating.

8am Breakfast (to be eaten 3-4 hours before event)

200g of porridge or instant oats, add 4 chopped semi-dried apricots Glass of apple juice

Energy (kcal) Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat (g)
464 9.6 105.6 3.5

The porridge oats, dried apricots and apple juice all have low GIs, which means their carbohydrate energy will be released steadily by the time the race starts providing a constant supply of glucose into the bloodstream to be used by the working muscles. This spares the glycogen stored in the muscles and liver and stops you from hitting the wall (caused by exhausted glycogen stores).

11.30am Pre-exercise snack (30 minutes before event)

200ml isotonic sports drink 1 ripe banana

Energy (kcal) Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat (g)
132 1.2 33.2 0

An isotonic sports drink will deliver the last blast of glucose to the bloodstream and ensures you are well hydrated as it’s special composition means it is the fasted way for the body to absorb water.

A ripe banana has a higher GI than greener, under-ripe bananas, so the carbohydrate energy will quickly be absorbed into the bloodstream.

2pm Post exercise snack (to be eaten immediately after finishing)

Pitta pocket filled with 2 tbsp. reduced fat hummus, half a grated carrot, half a pepper chopped into strips and a handful of shredded lettuce Carton of orange juice Box of raisins

Energy (kcal) Protein (g) Carbohydrate (g) Fat (g)
482 15.4 101.7 4.4

Eating some fast-acting carbohydrate as soon as you finish (even if you don’t feel like it) is the quickest way to recover. The pitta, orange juice and raisins all have high GIs, which means their carbohydrate energy will be quickly available to restore glycogen levels and help muscles recover.

The hummus provides some easily digested protein to help muscles repair themselves.

The carrot and pepper are good sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant needed to boost the immune system and to prevent free radical damage caused by exercise.

The orange juice is a good source of vitamin C, and potassium is supplied by the juice and the raisins which can help replace potassium lost through sweating.