Jen’s guide to what to eat before (and treat yourself to after) you brave a 10K run…
I was somehow persuaded to register for Bristol’s annual 10K on the 11th May. I’m not a natural runner and, I although I do other exercise, I haven’t actually done any running since school, so I set to work downloading running apps, reading numerous running articles and training plans and, eventually, begrudgingly hit the pavements in the miserable February weather.
While training, to distract myself from the fact that I was running in the pouring rain, I began thinking (not surprisingly) about food. Working at Food & Drink Guides and being somewhat obsessed with good food, my first thought was, of course, about the post-race meal. There will be a small group of us running the 10K, and a group of friends and family members supporting us on the day, so, naturally, I want to plan somewhere lovely for us to go afterwards.
First things first, though. To make it through the 10K run unscathed, using good nutrition to keep my energy levels up is key. After doing lots of research, here are the top tips I’ve found on the web.
The Night Before
• 50 to 75 per cent of your dinner should be complex carbs like pasta or potatoes.
• Lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs should make up 25 per cent.
• Avoid fibre and fat.
• Aim to drink 1-2 pints of water.
• Again, avoid fibre, fat and caffeine (for obvious reasons).
• Nerves may be in play (so I’m told) so opt for something simple but with lots of energy, like peanut butter on toast, porridge with blueberries or jam on toast.
• Make sure you drink a sports drink or water within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
• It’s also good to eat a small, high-carbohydrate meal within 30 minutes of completing your run. During this time-frame your muscles are most receptive to rebuilding glycogen (stored glucose).
It is recommended that you train for a 10K for anything from 8 to 14 weeks before the event. There are plenty of training plans and advice on the internet, and a lot of running shops will help you with your running technique and choosing your correct running shoes. For more information on gait analysis and running shoes, we recommend that you find your local branch on the Runners Need website.
If you’re interested in training for a 10K, don’t be disheartened if you find yourself tiring quickly, as I’ve found it takes a while to build up your fitness and find your perfect running style – if you’re in need of practice, there are lots of events throughout the country all year, which you can find on Run Britain’s site.
My race finishes at Bristol’s waterfront, so I’ve put together a list of my favourite spots in the area for a post-race lunch, most of which are within hobbling distance. Advice states that a full meal should be consumed within two-three hours of finishing the race, which gives you lots of time to build up an appetite. The following places have great menus, so I recommend booking in advance.
The Rummer Hotel
Occupying a listed building in St Nicholas Market, this stylish bar and restaurant serves top-drawer modern British cuisine in the vaulted cellar dining room. They do some great cocktails too.
You might have to walk up a hill to get to Goldbrick House, but it’s totally worth it. This peaceful haven of calm is the ideal place for some post-race relaxation and a meal that’s elegant and hearty in equal measure.
This one’s a little further up the hill, so you might want to take a taxi if your hard-working legs and feet can’t take much more. Once you get there, though, you’ll be treated to quality cuts of meat with accompaniments made using the freshest ingredients.
Steak of the Art
This one’s right on the harbourside, so is certainly within shuffling distance of the finish line. This trendy restaurant does what it says on the tin – steak, with a generous side of art. The restaurant is also a gallery, and its walls are chock-a-block with interesting artworks. Food-wise, you can expect dishes made with West Country produce, created as artfully as the works on the walls.