Fuel for Fitness

runners at the starting line of run

Tomorrow morning 5,000 people will be taking part in the Operation Transformation annual 5km run in both Dublin and Cork. If you're one of the lucky ones who got to register for it you’ve probably thought about what gear you’re going to wear. But have you thought about what you're going to eat and drink?

Okay this isn’t a marathon, even though for some it will feel like it! When you exercise vigorously for more than an hour at a time, you may need to eat and drink differently to properly fuel your activity. Saying that, you don’t want to be flagging more than usual around the course on Saturday. Equally, you don’t want to be afraid to eat in case it makes you feel queasy. 

I’ve worked with sports dietitians over recent years to put together information for adults and teens involved in sport. Some of the principles that apply to those involved in sport on a regular basis can apply to the ‘not so sporty’ of us when we’re taking part in vigorous physical activity.

My top tips for those taking part in the runs are:

Before the race

  • Avoid eating a meal for 2 hours before the race – fasting from the night before isn’t an option either so set that alarm clock so that you have had your breakfast 2 hours before the run.
  • Eat what you normally eat for breakfast – trying out something different isn’t a good idea on race day when you are going to push that body. For those of you who dislike breakfast try a slice of toast and a cup of tea. Starchy foods like breakfast cereals and toast will provide you with the energy you need.
  • Hydrate before the run – at least have some fluids (tea, fruit juice or water) with your breakfast and bring some water with you to the race.

 After the race

  • joggers during the raceDrink plenty of water – you’ll be hot and thirsty and dare I say, sweaty, so have a water bottle in your bag or car
  • Refuel with a small snack - sports people always refuel within 30 minutes of playing sport. For the rest of us a piece of fruit is sufficient to refuel and help keep the calories in check.

Good luck to all of you taking part in it. Enjoy. Will you do a 10k next?

Posted: 22/02/2013 12:34:30 by Marian O’Reilly
Filed under: Campaigns, Diet, Exercise, Operation Transformation, Weight-loss


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About Me

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Marian O’Reilly
Hi, my name is Marian O’Reilly and I’m the Chief Specialist in Nutrition at safefood. My job is varied ranging from nutrition research, working on mass media campaigns to dealing with public queries on healthy eating. I live in Co. Cork with my husband and our one year son. I’m a lover of the outdoors and in my spare time will be found out walking.