Whether you’ve got a summer marathon on the cards, a long-distance race looming, or just want to know how to fuel your body more optimally for your running sessions, there can be a huge payoff to tweaking your pre-run nutrition. Handily, you don’t need to become a part-time nutritional expert or a gastronomic genius capable of making 10 macro-friendly meals on the fly to make your food work for you.
Instead, you can work through the three recipes below, each individually masterminded by Rachel Butcher (ANutr), Head of Nutrition at Natural Fitness Food, to help you reach your goals quicker and stronger than ever. Second helpings are optional but very much encouraged.
Simple spaghetti with sweet potato, chicken, chorizo and pumpkin seeds
“This recipe is simple, satiating and low GI, making it perfect for fuelling up during the days
leading up to an event. It provides a perfect pre-race combination of carb, protein and fats, plus good levels of β-carotene, vitamin C, iron, potassium, folic acid, and omega 3 fats,” says Butcher. “As always, try the evening before a long training run to make sure it agrees
with you before trying it ahead of race day, it takes just 10 mins to prep.”
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 2 sweet potatoes – peeled and diced
- Squeeze of lime juice
- 400g spaghetti
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 chicken breasts
- 75g chorizo – diced
- 2 tbsp mint, coriander or parsley – roughly chopped
- 25g pumpkin seeds
- 1 red chilli – sliced finely, deseeded
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potato and cook.
for 10 mins until tender.
- Drain, add lime juice and set aside.
- Heat a tsp olive oil in a frying pan and add the diced chicken.
- Meanwhile, bring another pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti until al dente
- Once the chicken is cooked, sauté the chorizo gently for a few minutes.
until crisp in the same pan. Remove and add to the sweet potato.
- When the spaghetti is ready, drain, reserving a ladleful of the cooking water and then return to pan. Add the rest of the olive oil, a tbsp. cooking water, the chorizo and sweet potato, the chopped herbs, black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt. Combine everything together and
serve with sliced chilli, pumpkin seeds
Isotonic Sports Drink
“Hydration is key for all endurance sports for all athletic levels. If you have a high sweat rate or your race/sport exceeds 90minutes, water just won’t cut it as you’ll need to replace fluids as well as electrolytes (salt) lost through sweat as well as energy from carbohydrates,” says Butcher. “Your drink should be isotonic, i.e. of osmolarity as close as possible as that of the human body. A drink too dense (i.e. too concentrated) will require the body to secrete water to absorb it resulting in the opposite to the desired effect and can even lead to dehydration, a drink too sparse or plain water may paradoxically lead to the same situation.”
- 250ml of real fruit juice (100% juice, not a ‘juice drink’)
- 250ml water
- pinch of salt
Mix together and chill – simple!
Race Day Breakfasts
A nervous belly (low fibre)
- 1 cup applesauce/puree (no sugar added) – 166 calories, 46g carbs
- 1 ¼ cup Rice Krispies – 130 calories, 29g carbs
- 2 tbsp peanut butter – 188 calories, 6g carbs
- 1 tbsp honey – 64 calories, 17g carbs
- Total: 548 calories, 98g carbs
A sensitive stomach (gluten-free, IBS-friendly, heartburn, food sensitivities)
- ½ cup quinoa (cooked) – 312 calories, 54.5g carbs
- 1 cup sweet potato – 114 calories, 27g carbs
- 1 tbsp olive oil – 119 calories, 0g carbs
- Total: 545 calories, 81g carbs
A strong stomach (tolerates most foods, very little stress/nerves impacting
- 1 cup oats (cooked) – 166 calories, 28g carbs
- 1 egg (cooked) – 78 calories, .6g carbs
- 1 medium banana – 105 calories, 27g carbs
- 2 tbsp raisins – 85 calories, 22g carbs
- 1 tbsp walnuts – 92.5 calories, 1.95g carbs
- Total: 526 calories, 80.5g carbs