Yesterday, I posted a race recap from the Little Rock Marathon on Sunday — my second full marathon. You can read all about what I ate on race morning, how I fueled (with tater tots!) throughout the race, and my post-race celebration in that post.
But tonight, I'm sharing my pre-race day meal plan. It's a simple formula that I follow before all my big races (half and full marathons) based on this post from the Vega website. It works every time, and I try not to stray too much from the plan. Mornings are always toast with healthy fat and jam. Lunches are big salads. Snacks are fresh juice, fruit, and yogurt. And dinners are carb-loaded meals made with healthy, whole foods.
My race was in Little Rock on Sunday. But I woke up in Memphis on Saturday morning, ate a quick medjool date stuffed with Steem caffeinated peanut butter, and headed out for an easy-peasy two-mile shakeout run. Dates are great, quick fuel for short runs.
Afterward, I had two slices of Whole Wheat Toast with Miyoko's Creamery VeganButter and Lingonberry Jam. Washed down with a Green Protein Shake made with Vega One Natural protein powder, cashew-almond milk, and wheatgrass powder. The VeganButter is made with coconut oil and cashews, so it's a great source of healthy fats, and the jam just makes it taste better. I drank the protein shake because I like to make sure I'm getting a healthy balance of carbs, fats, AND proteins before race day.
My pre-race day morning snack is always a fresh juice because hydration is so important. And hydrating with juice gives your body an extra blast of nutrients. I picked up a We Got the Beet Juice from I Love Juice Bar on the way out of town. This had beets, ginger, apple, and lemon. Beets are great for endurance runs, and ginger helps with any inflammation lingering in the body.
I sipped on that juice all the way to Little Rock. It's about a 2 1/2 hour drive, and by the time I arrived — around 1:30 p.m. — I was really hungry for lunch. My best friend Sheridan, who I was staying with, was busy doing some things for work, so I stopped by the Little Rock Whole Foods and made a giant salad, which I enjoyed in the store's cafe while reading John Waters' Carsick. The salad had tofu, dried cranberries, almonds, edamame, chickpeas, black beans, romaine, carrots, corn, roasted garlic and leeks, barley, zucchini noodles, and sesame-ginger dressing.
After lunch, I headed downtown to the race expo where I picked up my bib, free shirt, and other goodies. I also bought another race shirt (in a size that actually fit since the free shirt was unisex and massive) and a SPIbelt. Here's a selfie using the Runalicious filter in the Little Rock Marathon iPhone app.
I met up with Sheridan after the expo, and we went back to Whole Foods to shop for dinner. I also grabbed my traditional pre-race day snacks — yogurt (probiotics!), fruit (carbs!), and kombucha (more probiotics!). I went with the Forager's Strawberry Cashewgurt, a Banana, and Strawberry Kombucha.
I snacked on those things when we got back to Sheridan's house. And then our friend Brittany dropped by to say hi. Sheridan, Brittany, and I go way back! I met Sheridan in the seventh grade, and I've known Britt since second grade! We all lived together in college. They both moved to Little Rock after college, and I moved to Memphis. Luckily, we all still live within a couple hours of one another.
Sheridan and I were going to cook dinner together, but she was doing such a great job that I just sat down and let her do the work. :-)
She made Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Seitan Marinara and Olive-Garlic Bread. These pre-race carby dinners are my fave! I rarely eat garlic bread with my pasta because that sort of carb-on-carb meal seems a little much for real life. But the day before a marathon? It's time to go carb crazy! For the seitan, we used Sweet Earth Tuscan Savory Grounds. They're made with wheat gluten and whole food ingredients, like onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and herbs. The olive bread — so good! — came from the Whole Foods bakery.
I read my race guide while I ate dinner. That is, until Sheridan and Drew's cat, Ellie, lay down right on top of the paper. Ellie is the sweetest, and she's so old. She lived with Sher, Britt, and I back in college — around 2001!
I always, always have one pre-race beer before bed. It helps calm the pre-race jitters and gets me ready to turn in early. I opted for a Little Rock-made Lost Forty Brewing Rockhound IPA. It's an Ellie photo bomb!
I tucked in around 10:15 p.m. for a 5 a.m. wake up call. Looking back, I think I made some pretty good food choices pre-race day. This formula always works.