MISSOULA – It’s race week for the 2018 Missoula Marathon where in just a few days, thousands of runners hit the road.
Now is the time to make sure you’re getting fueled up and knowing what to eat and drink in the days ahead of the run can get you to the finish line with a smile.
Missoula Marathon Race Director Tony Banovich knows the dos and don’t s of nutrition when preparing for a long run. We caught up with him at the Good Food Store to gets some good advice ahead of the race — and it all starts with what you drink.
"Certainly you’ll want to be hydrated throughout the week, every day whether it’s water or sports drink just to keep your fluid levels up. You want to be well hydrated going into race day," Banovich said.
Now as for eating, Banovich says this is not the week to try something new with your diet.
"Don’t start a new diet, don’t start new nutrition, don’t start different hydration. Stick with what you’ve been doing with your training. You don’t want to throw your body off and create an upset stomach or problems there," Banovich advised. "Stay away from things that are overly fibrous. Stick to good lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables."
That brings us to race day; the chances are you’re getting up between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., so what are you supposed to eat? Banovich says it’s all about topping off the tank.
"Toast with maybe some butter or honey, a bagel with butter or honey is good. Oatmeal is good if you’ve practiced with oatmeal. For some people, it can create problems," Banovich said. "But if you’ve practiced with oatmeal, that’s a great meal to have as well. Just a couple hundred calories to top off the tank to get blood sugars up and you’ll be ready to go."
The night before the marathon runners should have dinner a little earlier than normal and than hit the sack. It’s a good idea to get a good night’s sleep on Thursday night and Friday night because most probably won’t sleep well on race day.
Finally, runners should avoid alcohol the night before the race.
There are 15 aid stations for the full marathon and eight aid stations for the half marathon. They are approximately every two miles and then every mile during the last 10K. Each aid station will have Powerade and water. Some will also have energy gels available.
Following the race, the Good Food store has a nice offering of fruits and salads and other food for the finishers to get you fueled up again.