By Jana Wolff, RDN, LDN
Thanksgiving is almost here which means the Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K is just around the corner! Whether you’re a seasoned runner or a novice jogger, the right nutrition makes a difference when the big day comes. If you are doing a couch to 5K or walking/jogging for practice, staying hydrated and having enough fuel will ultimately make for a more comfortable race day experience.
Water is the best form of hydration. At least 64 ounces per day will do the trick, but remember, more is better! Most likely you will not need electrolyte based drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade unless you are running for more than 40-60 minutes. If you’re drinking water during the trot, be sure to slow down and take small sips to stay hydrated during the race.
The Turkey Trot is in the morning, so you will need a sensible, mild breakfast to fuel your walk or run. Carbohydrates such as a piece of fruit or whole grain toast with peanut butter will give you energy and leave you feeling light on your feet. After the race, it is important to replace what you have burned. Your post recovery snack should include a form of carbohydrate, some protein and plenty of fluid (see above). Chocolate milk happens to be one of the best post-race recovery snacks, so reminisce in your childhood and enjoy. Any fruits such as a banana or apple plus a handful of nuts or Greek yogurt with granola are good choices.
Timing is also important – eat within one to two hours before the race to keep your stomach settled and fuel your workout. Be sure to eat within the first hour after finishing the race to set your body on the path to recovery.
Take home message
The Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K comes around once per year. Staying hydrated and getting the proper fuel will make for a comfortable walk/run. Enjoy this fun day to relax, burn some extra calories, and share in the joy of Thanksgiving.