What is considered a good diet while preparing for a 10km run?

Written for Yellow Ribbon Prison Run 2012 Race Preparation Articles

If your aim is to complete your 10km in decent time, just follow these key principles and you will do fine.  

1. Eat a well balanced diet.

This is crucial as eating food from all levels of the food pyramid will ensure you get all the nutrition and vitamins that your body needs to perform on a daily basis. In general, carbohydrates provide energy for daily training and proteins are a necessity for muscle regeneration and recovery.

2. Eat more carbohydrates.

Distance running requires the body to burn large amounts of energy. The body’s main source of energy is glucose which is the smallest building block of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates include rice, pasta and bread. However, among carbohydrates, there are some sources that are better than others. These are unrefined carbohydrates. Unlike white rice, white bread and plain pasta, foods that are wholemeal and unrefined in its original state are superior sources of carbohydrates. They are digested slower than refined carbohydrates and thus keep you feeling full longer throughout the day. They also contain several minerals that are removed during the refining process just to make it more pleasing to the eye. Isn’t that ironic?

3. Eat less fried foods.

Food that is fried contains a large amount of oil. I have to admit that I am also tempted to eat KFC fried chicken every now and then and I am not going to hide it. On a daily basis however, I focus on eating dishes like Yong tau foo, specifically choosing items that are not fried. (Yong tau foo is a Chinese dish in which you can choose your ingredients from a wide spread of vegetables, fried bean curd and meat) Eliminating fried food from your diet will allow you to decrease the overall fat intake in your diet.

4. Keep hydrated.

Hydration is definitely a component of nutrition as it is something you put into your mouth. Our body is made of 70% water and it is important to keep that water tank of yours full. From my experience, starting a workout when you are dehydrated is a sure way to leave you disappointed. A simple guideline is to drink till the point such that your urine is clear throughout the day. If your last piss before your workout is clear, you can be sure you are well hydrated and ready to do a great workout.

5. Eat small meals.

This is the secret of many top athletes but it is always easier said than done especially when you have long working and school hours. But that makes it all the more challenging doesn’t it? Students in the Singapore Sports School are fed 7 times a day instead of our traditional 3 meals. Small meals allow release of energy from our gastrointestinal system in a more regulated manner, keeping our energy levels constant.

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