What You Need to Win: Nutrition and Hydration Strategies for Urbanathlons

Tue, 03/12/2013 - 11:55

The Urbanathlon will demand much from your body physically; from the distance runs and steps to the gruelling challenges of the obstacles.  For many of us, this event will expend well over 1,300 calories and require many pints of fluid to be lost through sweat to keep you cool.  But, if you want to play well, you also need to fuel and hydrate properly. To help ensure a great experience, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) is here to help – by providing you with a step-by-step, easy-to-follow nutrition and hydration guidelines that will prepare you to give your best.

1.     Day Before the Race:

§  Start sipping water throughout the day.

§  Maintain your normal eating habits through the day until dinnertime

§  Aim to achieve clear-to-lemonade colored urine; this is a good sign you’re hydrated.

§  Pre-race dinner.

§  Load up on quality carbohydrates with a small amount of protein:

§  Choose starches like pasta, rice, breads, and potatoes

§  Aim to eat about 0.9 – 1.8 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight. For example, a 165 lb. person should try to eat about 150 – 300 grams of carbohydrates.

§  Avoid eating a lot of fat or fiber which can irritate your stomach and can cause bloating.

§  Eat a small amount of protein such as Greek yogurt with fruit or PB&J.

2.     Race day:

Breakfast will be your best friend, so make every effort to eat a carbohydrate-protein snack before the race.

§  Two hours before your race drink 20 ounces of water. This will top off your body water, yet still leave time to visit the bathroom.

§  Approximately 75 – 90-minutes before your race, eat a light carbohydrate-protein snack.*

§  This snack should be light, between 300 – 500 calories.

§  Shoot for about 80 calories coming from lean proteins and the remainder from carbohydrates.

§  Don’t eat too much which may expand your stomach too much, increasing feelings of discomfort. 

* If you have never tried eating before a race, try doing so during training sessions before attempting it during race day. Feel free to cut back on the quantities as needed, but try to eat some kind of snack before your race.


§  Smoothie: (1 cup skim milk, 2 medium bananas, 1 cup strawberries, and 10 g whey or soy isolate powder).

§  75 g of carbohydrates, 20 g of protein and approximately 360 calories

§  8 oz. nonfat, plain yogurt with ½ apple diced, ½ hard-boiled egg, 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast with 2 tsp. light peanut butter, and 8 oz. orange juice

§  70 g of carbohydrates, 17 g of protein and approximately 395 calories

For a lighter snack, try:

§  5 oz. Greek yogurt (plain) with 1 cup blueberries and 1 medium banana

§  40 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein and approximately 250 calories

§  Warm-ups: If you plan to participate in a warm-up before the race, then also plan to drink a sports drink (NOT an energy drink). For every 15 minutes you spend warming-up, drink about 8 ounces of a good commercial sports drink to top of your fluid levels, electrolytes and carbohydrates.

3.     During the Race:

You should have a plan to drink fluids, electrolytes, carbohydrates and even some proteins during the race.

§  Plan to drink about 8 oz. every 15 minutes. While water is sometimes preferred, choosing a sport drink will help to replace lost electrolytes and may help avoid cramping.

4.     Post-Race:

§  After the race it is very important to hydrate and replenish lost fluids.

§  The difference between your pre- and post-race weights provides a good indication of how much fluid you will need to replace. If you can’t weight yourself, start sipping fluids throughout the rest of the day.

§  For every pound lost, consume 24 oz. of water or 20 oz. of a sports drink.

§  To help replenish your lost carbohydrates, try to eat 0.5 g of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight within the first hour after your race. For example, a 165 lb. person should try to eat about 75 – 90 g of carbohydrates. These can be consumed either as drinks or as food – your preference. These carbohydrates will help your depleted muscles recover.

§  Try to eat up to 20 g of a ‘fast’ protein (whey or soy isolate, egg protein) within the first hour after your race. Consuming a quality ‘fast” protein will help reduce inflammation and accelerate muscle recovery and growth following your race.

For example:

§  Smoothie: (1 cup skim milk, 2 medium bananas, 1 cup strawberries, and 10 g whey or soy isolate powder.

§  75 g of carbohydrates, 20 g of protein and approximately 360 calories

§  1 cup unsweetened cereal with 4 oz. non-fat milk, 6” whole wheat pita, ¼ cup canned tuna (drained, water) with 2 tsp. light mayonnaise , 12 – 15 grapes and 10 Saltine™ crackers.

§  80 g of carbohydrates, 23 g or protein and approximately  510 calories.

§  3½” whole wheat bagel with 1/3 cup egg whites (scrambled), 8 oz. low- fat chocolate milk and 1 medium-sized apple.

§  79 g of carbohydrates, 21 g of protein and approximately 430 calories.

By following the guidelines provided, you can help provide your body with the high-octane fuel needed to achieve success on race day.


Physical IQ is an Education partner to the National Academy of Sports Medicine
For more information on the accredited, internationally recognized courses, go to www.physicaliq.com
Email us education@physicaliq.com or call us on 0312010282

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