What does this have to do with running? For me, everything.
I started running as part of my weight loss regime more than a year ago. Training and running a half-marathon helped me lose more than 45 pounds, get into the best shape of my life and become a healthy role model for my children.
Now, I average about 16 to 18 miles per week and continue to love running. It's also a necessity since I enjoy cooking (and eating) and am a food writer for The Bee.
Looming ahead for me is the Run to the Feed the Hungry (the 10K) and a 7-mile segment of the CIM I'm running as a relay with my husband and two friends.
But like my pace, the right fuel to eat before a big run or race continues to be a work in progress.
Pasta with a little olive oil, salt and pepper? Good run. Pasta with marinara? Not so much.
This eating thing can be rather tricky.
I recently sought some advice from The Bee's nutrition expert, Teri Watson, on what runners should be eating. Here's what she said:
"Those involved in endurance sports such as marathons and half marathons need about 60 percent of their diet from carbohydrates, about 15 percent protein and about 25 percent fat.
If the runner multiplies their weight by 3.2, they'll get the number of grams of carbohydrates they should eat a day.
To get the number of grams of protein they need a day, they multiply their weight by 0.6.
Carbohydrates are easy to digest, therefore the most efficient source of energy. The body stores carbohydrates as muscle glycogen. Muscle glycogen is the preferred fuel for an endurance athlete. But stores of muscle glycogen can be depleted during endurance sports, so it's important to consume a large amount of complex carbohydrates (starchy carbs such as whole grains, legumes, fruits vegetables), not simple carbohydrates (sweet carbs such as sugar, honey, jelly, regular sodas) before a long race. This will help prevent early fatigue.
The athlete will want to eat high carb the night before a race. They'll also want to drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine. It's recommended to eat a high carb meal 2 to 4 hours before the race to top off muscle glycogen stores.
Example: 2 eggs, 3 pieces whole grain toast, 2 bananas, 3 cups bran cereal, 1 cup lowfat milk, 2 cups fruit juice. This could be eaten over 2 to 3 hours, it doesn't have to all be eaten in one sitting.
Some dinner ideas, heavy in: whole grain pasta, beans and brown rice, artisan-style whole/multi-grain bread, corn tortillas, whole wheat pita, couscous, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, lightly steamed veggies, fresh fruit."
Follow this link to check out a recipe for a spaghetti frittata on Epicurious.com.