Hello friends and Happy Tuesday!

I hope your week is off to a great start so far! I’m gearing up for the Seawheeze Half Marathon which is coming up this Saturday.

I have a feeling I speak for many participants when I say it’s not so much the race itself I’m looking forward to, but rather the festivities that accompany it! Exclusive Seawheeze-only Lululemon gear, lots of yoga, lots of socializing – it’s basically a big party for two days 😉 I’ve participated in Seawheeze the past two years and it’s just gotten better and better each year. You can read all about last year’s Seawheeze fun here.

Be prepared for an influx of Seawheeze photos on Facebook and Instagram this weekend 😉

foods to eat during race week

Seawheeze Sunset Festival, 2014

Since I run at a snail’s pace to keep my IT band calm I don’t have quite as intense a preparation for half marathons anymore as I would if I were aiming to hit a time goal.

However, one thing I do pay extra close attention to on race weeks is the food I eat. Not so much in a “eat all the carbs” sense, but more in a “let’s have as little inflammation as possible” way.

I’ve been amazed at how the foods I eat affect my injury flare-ups. When daily Cookie Butter becomes a thing, more nightly yogurt bowls happen, and the occasional wrap or burger bun makes it’s way into my day (no judgement) this long piece of connective tissue that has been the bane of my existence the past two years acts up far more than when my diet is on point.

I’m no scientist or anything, but I have a hunch it’s due to inflammation.

So while there are certain things I limit or even cut out during race week (like dairy, wheat, and refined sugar), there are also some natural anti-inflammatories I like to include in my diet.

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These 5 foods to eat during race week are helpful not only for those who are preparing for an endurance event – if you’ve been dealing with a nagging injury that’s affecting your quality of life, try incorporating them into your diet for a little while and see how your symptoms improve!

Not only that, they’re super nutrient-dense, so why wouldn’t you want to eat them? 😉

5 foods

1. Fatty Fish

Our good old friends tuna and salmon (and sardines, but they kind of scare me) are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent inflammation fighters. Try some grilled wild salmon or throw some sustainably-caught canned tuna onto a delicious salad for a super easy meal.

Not a fan of fish? Try omega-3 oil! There are flavoured varieties that don’t taste fishy at all, as well as vegan options for the vegetarians.

foods to eat during race week

This one is Zesty Lemon flavour…fun!!

2. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are rich in antioxidants that help fight inflammation, and their high concentration of Vitamin E helps protect your body against cytokines, a molecule that promotes inflammation within the body. Steam some broccoli to serve with your salmon dinner, or add kale and spinach to your tuna salad and you’re set!

3. Nuts and Seeds

While all nuts are rich in nutrients, walnuts and hemp seeds will help you get your fill of omega-3s and can add a great texture to salads, oatmeal, and smoothies. You can also make some homemade trail mix with raw walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.

foods to eat during race week

The most delicious nuts of all!

4. Turmeric

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Turmeric is one of the main spices found in curry powder, and has shown to help ease pain and inflammation in those dealing with arthritis, muscular sprains, and even digestive issues. Try making a big pot of curry that’s filled with veggies (especially leafy and green veggies!) and chickpeas, rub it on some salmon, or get really crazy and add it to a smoothie.

5. Ginger

A common remedy for digestive upset, ginger is also amazing for reducing inflammation in the rest of the body. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols – how fitting, right? These gingerols have been shown to reduce pain caused by arthritis and injuries in numerous studies. Plus, it tastes amazing 😀

For the utmost in pre-race nutrition, try juicing beets and ginger and consume in the days and hours prior to a race. Beets have a high concentration of nitrate which, when converted to nitric oxide by the body, helps reduce muscular oxygen consumption and delays fatigue, which has made it popular among endurance athletes.

A word of caution: if you’ve never had beet juice, don’t try it for the first time the day before your next race. And don’t be afraid if your poop is a little more red than usual 😉

foods to eat during race week

Look at allll that nitrate 😀

Remember – we are all unique and different foods affect each of us differently. If you’ve never had any negative experiences with the foods I listed above, try adding them into your regular rotation! But if you have a nut allergy or can’t stomach ginger, please don’t eat them 😉

Have you ever noticed a correlation between injuries and the foods you eat? Do you have any tried-and-true foods you eat during race week? 

Showing 23 comments
  • Sharita
    Reply

    NEEDED THIS!! Thanks so much for sharing. I never really know what to eat while I’m training, and I want to be full and fueled, but not weighed down! Great tips! Best of luck with your next race!
    Sharita recently posted…How I Find Brand Name Gear without Going BrokeMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I’m glad you found the information useful! It’s definitely a delicate balance between being fuelled enough, and not overly-fuelled.

  • Nicole @ Fitful Focus
    Reply

    I definitely notice a difference between my training and the foods I eat. I trained for a marathon and didn’t fuel properly (though I thought I was at the time) and wound up injured. Now, I make sure to fuel right during a run and take in a good ratio of carbs and protein afterwards to ensure my muscles can heal up properly.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…R-U-N 5K Race RecapMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Sorry to hear about your injury, but it sounds like a good lesson came out of it!

  • Kelli
    Reply

    Definitely love Omega 3s. I also love guacamole. It is very interesting how we are all so different in terms of what the body will tolerate. I have not been as diligent about my diet with the boys home this summer. They go back on Friday and then I shape up my pantry and start paying attention again!
    Kelli recently posted…Dead Freaking Last – Race Recap and LinkupMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I’m a huge fan of guacamole as well! 😀 I can imagine it’s tough sticking to a regular eating routine when you’re managing a busy family! Hopefully you get some normalcy soon 🙂

  • Liz
    Reply

    Thanks for the tips! I’m doing my first bike ride in a few weeks.. obviously different from a run – but still looking for suggestions on what to eat before it 🙂 Thanks!
    -Liz
    Liz recently posted…Gym Bag EssentialsMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Exciting!! You’re so welcome! Best of luck! 😀

  • Ange @ Cowgirl Runs
    Reply

    Costco in Calgary has beet + ginger juice. I’m drinking so much this week! And I need to find myself some turmeric to try it out, too!
    Only a few short days until SeaWheeze!! 🙂
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Race Recap: Pure Protein Night RaceMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Awesome!! When you’re in Vancouver there will be no shortage of juices! Body Energy Club, The Juice Truck, and Krokodile Pear have some of my favs – some with turmeric too!

  • Reply

    There’s a huge correlation between the foods we eat and how we feel overall, but especially when we’re active. When in doubt, cut the junk, and you’ll feel a lot better altogether.
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Calling All Sole Sisters!My Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I agree! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Cristina @triathlonmami
    Reply

    Yep, nutrition is the fourth discipline of triathlon too! But I find if I eat too many leafy greens in the days before a race, I tend to have problems in the race wanting to go to the bathroom midway!
    Cristina @triathlonmami recently posted…Why I Went On A Road Trip And Why You Should TooMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Exactly! It was during triathlon training that I really learned the impact the foods I ate had on my performance. I seem to be of the few that don’t get bothered by fibrous foods before a race!

  • Reply

    Great tips! I absolutely notice more aches and pains when I’m eating badly. Especially those white carbs…that seems to really bother me. Good luck this weekend! Seawheeze is a bucket list half for me!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Hey Sole Sister…My Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Those darn white carbs! Hopefully you get to make it out for Seawheeze one year 😀

  • Marcia
    Reply

    Oooh Seawheeze! I NEED to get out there for it one of these years! You make a great point about food choices. I definitely work hard to minimize inflammation. Fish oil is my BFF.
    Marcia recently posted…Racing: The Rest of the YearMy Profile

  • Reply

    Interesting that you put leafy greens in there, while it is great nutritionally I try to shy away from too many greens and fiber to prevent GI issues on race day!! But great list for sure!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Recap–Week 5My Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      I was coming at this list more from an anti-inflammatory angle, and I tend to forget about the whole fibrous foods business because they don’t upset my stomach while racing! That being said, I probably wouldn’t eat a kale salad for breakfast on race day 😉

  • Jessica
    Reply

    Great list! need to remember this for my race in a couple weeks!!
    Jessica recently posted…Chocolate Post-Workout Recovery ShakeMy Profile

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Best of luck!!!

  • Monika Becker
    Reply

    I loved your article about the 5 foods, and the tortilla crusted salmon looks and sounds soooo yummy.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and valuable knowledge. You’re doing an awesome job at it!!!

    • Ariana
      Reply

      Thank you Monika! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the information and will do my best to continue to pump out good stuff 🙂

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