At FreshDirect, we know that food is fuel and an important part of any fitness routine. Ahead of this weekend’s TCS New York City Marathon, we asked private brands merchant Francesca D. for her top recommendations for the products that keep her energized and hydrated before, during, and after a run. She’ll be running the big 26.2 this Sunday, so if you’re watching, make sure to cheer her on!
My top piece of nutrition advice when running a marathon (or any other race!) is do not try anything new on race day. Always test all of your pre-, mid-, and post-run nutrition in advance during a long training run to set yourself up for success on race day.
The info and tips below are what work for me, but I am by no means an expert. Everyone is different, so what works for me may not work for you.
I try to stick to foods that I am used to eating and avoid trying new recipes or restaurants during race week. I like to start carb loading 2-3 days before the race. This helps keep my energy up and prevents me from hitting “the wall” during the race. Some of my favorite high carb foods are sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, butternut squash, rice and whole wheat bread or English muffins (I am obsessed with Dam Good).
Make sure you are still incorporating protein and healthy fats at each meal—carbs are important but they aren’t the only thing your body needs! I also make sure I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and rotate beverages high in electrolytes like coconut water (Harmless Harvest is my fave!), hydration tablets, or sometimes even a sports drink (I like to water it down to cut the sweetness). The morning of the race I eat a simple carb heavy breakfast (usually oatmeal and a banana) a couple hours ahead of my start time.
Energy chews, like the Clif Bloks or Honey Stinger are my favorite choice during a run—they make me feel like I am eating fruit snacks or gummy bears. They are energy (a.k.a carbohydrate) dense and specifically formulated for endurance actives like running a marathon. They are also small and easy to stash in your pockets or a running belt. I’ve found it best to eat a couple chews as I am approaching a hydration station. A small cup of water helps wash them down and makes them easier to digest.
Some other popular options are gels, sports beans, and energy waffles or bars. You can even try hydration tablets or powders if solids are too hard on your stomach (again, everyone if different). All of these options come is many different flavors, some even include caffeine for an extra boost.
Post run I like to begin rehydrating immediately. Water is good, but coconut water or a sports drink or tablet are better as they contain electrolytes and carbs to help you recover faster. I also try to refuel with a quick meal consisting of carbs and protein, like eggs and toast, to help repair muscle tissue.
Finally, because I have a big sweet tooth, I top it off with a cookie! I love Hudson Gourmet. They are super decadent but also super delicious and after 26.2 miles, I’d say I’ve earned it!