Yesterday, I blogged about finishing my very first marathon — the St. Jude Marathon — on Saturday. I went over what I ate that morning before the race (oats and banana) and how I celebrated afterward (pizza and beer).
But perhaps just as important is what I ate the day before the race. I'm very particular about pre-race nutrition, and I carefully craft a menu plan according a formula that's worked for me over several half-marathons (and now one full marathon). That formula was developed using this post on the Vega website as a guide.
I typically start the day before a race with an easy shakeout run. On Friday, I did an easy three miles to relax and calm my pre-race jitters. Then I had this breakfast of a Sprouted Grain Flax Muffin with Soynut Butter and Grape PB2 and a Chocolate Vega One Shake.
This is a great mix of carbs and protein to start the day. And just a teensy bit of fat in the nut butter. The Grape PB2 (the powdered peanut butter) is almost fat-free, but the soynut butter has some fat. For the protein shake, I just mixed Chocolate Vega One with Silk Coconut-Almond Milk.
Hydration before a race is key. And while water is sufficient, sometimes just plain old water gets boring. Before race day, I'd rather mix it up and get some bonus nutrients with a fresh juice. Around 10 a.m., I had this Cucumber-Apple-Ginger Juice that I made at home in my juicer and packed in a jar to bring to work. The ginger helps keep inflammation at bay.
My pre-race day lunch is always a Big Ol' Salad for lots of healthy carbs. Vegetable are carbs, and carbs are good for you. They're especially important pre-race. This salad had carb-y roasted sweet potatoes, corn, chickpeas, Wildwood baked tofu (the best kind!), romaine, spinach, red bell pepper, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, brown rice, pine nuts, and a homemade balsamic-olive oil dressing. I made the salad the night before and tucked it all into this big mason jar.
And then when I ran home for lunch on Friday, I dumped the whole thing out into my biggest mixing bowl! It was soooooo huge. And I ate every bite.
I got the idea for my afternoon snack from that Vega post as well. The author suggests mixing 1/2 scoop of Vega Sport Performance Protein into vegan yogurt to get a good dose of BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) since those help preserve muscle tissue. I had Vanilla Vega Sport mixed with So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt. And some grapes on the side! It tasted like cake batter!
Finally, for dinner, it was time for carb-loading! But rather than go crazy with some massive portion, it's best to keep it normal and eat the amount you'd typically eat at dinner. My co-worker Emily had gifted me a marathon present earlier in the day, and in the bag was whole wheat spiral pasta and some Mia's Kitchen Kale Marinara! When I got home from work, I sauteed a little crumbled tempeh, added the jar of marinara, and boiled some pasta. I also toasted an Ozery Bakery Spelt OneBun and slathered it with Earth Balance and garlic. Yummy plate of Kale-Tempeh Pasta and Garlic Bread!
After dinner, I made a Cherry Booch Mocktail with tart cherry juice (for inflammation) and kombucha (for probiotics), and I enjoyed that while taking an Epsom salt bath with lavender essential oil.
Finally — and this one ISN'T included on that Vega post — I always enjoy one pre-race day beer before bed. Nothing like beer to calm the nerves before a race! Emily also included a six-pack of Southern Prohibition Suzy B American Blonde Ale in her lovely marathon gift, so I enjoyed one of those while I sat out all of my race gear and gels.
And then it was off to bed by 9:20 p.m.! For more on how my race day went, check out yesterday's race recap post.