Tips to improve your athletic performance through diet

By Shannon Smuts – owner of Pure Good Food and ex MasterChef South Africa contestant

12 April 2017

Shannon Smuts

Leading up to the country’s most beautiful marathon, runners are looking to find out what food they should be eating before and after competing. Pre and post-performance food is really important and I can guarantee you that there are food items you should and shouldn’t be eating.

Some people may suffer negative side effects from consuming dairy and should avoid it just before and on a race day. If you need a recap you can read my previous blog here. When it comes to race day the number one thing you don’t want to take a chance with is your tummy. Eating anything that is going to cause digestion issues is a no no. Can you imagine anything worse than suddenly needing the toilet while running and you’re half way up Chapman’s Peak Drive?

Lactose is known to be very difficult for some people to digest and cutting it out 24hrs before your race may significantly aid in your performance. An article on Today.com highlighted that at least 60% of runners experience nausea and upset stomachs when they run due to the side effects of consuming dairy.

A_Good_Run

So what should you eat on race day? I would suggest you eat something that is easy to digest, contains no dairy and will help keep you fuelled and hydrated for as long as possible. You want to stay clear of high sugar items as you will feel energised for a short while and then crash and feel not so lekker.

I would suggest you try my great smoothie recipe that ticks all the above mentioned points. I have used Almond Breeze almond milk instead of milk as it’s easier to digest, tastes delicious and is dairy free! You can use the Original variant for a little extra carbohydrate content, or if you are staying clear of sugar go for the Unsweetened variant. Use chia seeds as they are packed with nutrients and help support digestion! Goji berries are a fantastic pre-race choice as they contain all eight essential amino acids that your body needs and are also a high source of protein. A nut butter is a great source of fuel. If you don’t have almond butter you can use peanut butter or coconut oil as an alternative.

Try my hydrator smoothie recipe:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon goji berries
  • 300ml Almond Breeze Almond Milk Original or Unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon almond nut butter
  • Ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth and drink 1 to 2 hours before a race or any physical activity.

Good luck to all the runners competing in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon!

 

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